What to Do When You’ve Gotten Too High

Whiteout? Green-out? Mary Jane to the rescue!

While you can’t actually die from cannabis, you can overdose. This simply means “taking too large a dose and having a bad reaction.” It’s easy to do if you’re not used to the strength and concentration of modern cannabis, or if you haven’t gotten high in a while and miscalculate your tolerance, or if your THC-infused candy or baked goods taste so good you don’t stop at one.

In the old days, we used to call it a “whiteout” or “pulling a whitey,” after how pale a sufferer became. Now the kids call it a “green-out”, which I think perfectly captures the potential for nausea. Of course, here at Mary Jane Notes, we like to call it pulling a MoDo. A MoDoer will be pale and clammy; they may also feel nauseated and dizzy. Their heart rate might be elevated and they may experience feelings of panic or paranoia.

Here’s how to help them (or yourself) through it.

Find a soothing setting

Step one is to make them comfortable; get them to a nice cozy sofa or a dark bedroom, or whatever they find most calming. Remind them that this is temporary and that no matter how they feel in the moment, they will be fine in a few hours. Play music, or put on a favorite show or movie in the background. Get them a cool compress, ice water, and a bucket (just in case).

Snack and distract

Even if they aren’t especially hungry, a few bites of a banana, granola bar, or bagel, or a few sips of milk or herbal tea can help bring your little green friend back into their bodies, especially if they are feeling dizzy. Some people swear by sweet snacks; since a little jolt of sugar can help woozy blood donors get their color back, it makes sense. Chocolate, ice cream, or juice can be helpful here. And be sure to encourage fluids in general, to counter cottonmouth, and especially if they experience any vomiting (if nothing stays down, try ice chips).

If they feel up to it, try taking them for a short walk outside, or open the windows. Cool fresh air can help them reset a bit; encourage nice deep breaths. If they’re staying in, music, candles, colored lights, even blowing bubbles or watching cartoons can help them focus on something other than their discomfort. Or try a bath or shower (cold or hot), but don’t leave them alone in there for too long.

Try possible antidotes

You can try chewing on a few black peppercorns, which contain a useful terpene called beta-caryophyllene that helps mitigate the discomfort that comes with too much cannabis. Of course, chewing on black pepper sounds pretty uncomfortable too. But I guess it’s all relative.

The terpenes limonene and alpha-pinene also help counteract the effects of a green-out. You can find them in lemons and pine nuts, respectively — both a tastier option than a mouthful of peppercorns.

Believe it or not though, one of the best remedies is CBD. That’s right, the non-psychoactive part of the cannabis plant is actually a THC antagonist, meaning it can stop your system’s uptake of THC, thus halting the intoxication process. So stock up on some CBD gummies, and add them to your green-out rescue kit. Just be sure there’s no THC in them.

Finally, a word about alcohol.

When you combine booze with pot, especially with too much of either or both, the results can be much worse. You’re more likely to get dizzy and nauseated, and much more likely to need someone to hold your hair back while you worship the porcelain goddess. So my advice is to be very careful adding alcohol into the mix until you are sure exactly how you respond to a particular cannabis product. If you’re helping a MoDoer who has also had quite a bit to drink, keep a closer watch on them. Remember that alcohol makes any situation potentially more dangerous.

As always, grown-ups, let’s be safe out there.