Getting too high happens to all cannabis users at some point; some in sticky situations with an urgent need to sober up. Maybe you tried a new strain that got you unexpectedly too zonked before an event or activity that requires a straight head. Worst of all, you can’t fake your way through it, and it’s happening in 30 minutes. Don’t panic! We know a few tricks that can make your high dwindle to a more manageable buzz, along with other useful information about the duration of the high and the factors that affect it.

What Factors Affect The Duration of The High?

Before talking about ways we can sober up fast, it helps to understand the various factors that affect how long you stay high.

THC Tolerance. As expected, an everyday weed smoker has higher THC tolerance and will sober up a lot faster than a new or occasional consumer.

Biochemistry. Besides tolerance, every individual has varying chemical and physicochemical processes occurring in the body. Although not commonly discussed, your body weight, body fat percentage, metabolism, and whether (or not) you’ve already eaten affect how long the high lasts.

Potency. Not alls strains and cannabis products are equally potent. Concentrates have the fastest onset and are the most potent form of cannabis, followed by dried buds and edibles.

melted cannabis shatter
Melted cannabis oil concentrate aka shatter held on a dabbing tool

Method of Consumption and Absorption Process. Concentrates and dried flowers typically provide one- to three-hour-long high. The Johnny-come-lately edibles, which take 30 minutes to two hours to take effect and are commonly less potent, can keep you blissed-out for four to twelve hours, depending on the amount you consumed.

The mode of consumption influences where and how quickly cannabinoids, like THC and CBD, are absorbed into the body. Cannabinoids are absorbed faster through the lungs, which is why the effect of smoked or vaporized cannabis manifest earlier. Orally ingested cannabis, such as edibles and softgels, take the longest as the cannabinoids have to travel through the digestive tract to the liver, where they are metabolized. This metabolic pathway also converts THC into 11-Hydroxy THC, which produces a noticeably more potent high, according to a paper published in 1972 in the journal Science. Here’s a deep dive into the edible high.

Dosage. It goes without saying that the more you consume, the longer the high will last. However, don’t rush it, especially if you’re a beginner. Starting slow and staying low allow the effects to kick in and settle before taking another hit. This way, you can have a pleasant experience and also figure out how much you really need to achieve the desired effect.

Do Teens Really Get a Longer High?

Interestingly, the research conducted by Dr. Frances Jensen and her team found that the effects of cannabis on teenage brain last longer. We are not talking about an hour more; we are talking about several days of lingering high. For instance, if an adolescent gets a dose of weekend weed fun, the effects may still be around on Thursday or Friday later that week. Such long-term impact does not happen with adults.

This is likely because a teen’s brain has more receptors for the cannabinoids to bind to than in the adult brain. While a couple of days of being under the influence of marijuana may sound like a treat, it could affect the building blocks of learning and memory, causing cognitive problems down the line.

9 Ways To Sober Up From A Weed High Fast

Whatever your reasons are for wanting to diminish the high, no need to worry. As long as you don’t take more, the high will dissipate within minutes to a few hours. Plus, we have a list of tried-and-tested shortcuts to sobriety, so you can go from silly stoned to stone-cold sober, fast!

Take a rest

Turning off your brain to get a shuteye is not a simple task when you’re buzzed out, but it is truly the best way to stop a strong high. It’ll also leave you rejuvenated, allowing you to spring back up. To ease yourself into relaxation, find a calm, quiet place where you can catch a little nap. Taking slow, deep breaths through the nose and exhaling through the mouth while lying down helps settle the nerves as well.

a girl lying on a chair to sober up
A girl lying on the sofa chair

Stay hydrated and enjoy light snacks

We can’t stress the importance of staying well hydrated enough. Whether you prefer water or flavored drinks, make sure you have a cold, non-caffeinated, non-alcoholic beverage on hand. It not only alleviates dry mouth but also allows a racing mind to concentrate on a straightforward and familiar act—sipping and swallowing.

Similarly, eating a snack helps zonked out users feel calmer. It directs the thoughts to the food and the act of eating it, removing the focus on the high.

Distract your mind

Although you are trying to sober up, it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the remainder of the high. Activities that you find entertaining and fun while intoxicated work as excellent distractions during the comedown. Whatever mind-diversions you choose, make sure that it’s a familiar one that shares a feeling of positivity. Here are some suggestions you can try:

  • Watch a funny movie or cartoons
  • Listen to a calming playlist
  • Talk to your friends in person or via video call
  • Snuggle with your significant other, favorite cuddle pillow, or furry friend
  • Paint
  • Read
  • Stare out the window
  • Watch the stars
  • Give yourself a massage
  • Try aromatherapy

Have a change of scenery

Turning your brain off may require a change of scenery. Since you won’t have enough time to go on an out-of-town trip, just take yourself for a short walk. This gives you time to get out of your head and reconnect with your body. With the breeze, sun, mist, or rain on your skin, your uncomfortable high and worries about sobering up fade into the background.

Two man walking to sober up
Two man walking on a pathway between trees

Don’t get caught up with the walk and wander off too far, though. Remember to stay within close proximity as getting lost while buzzed out may bring about anxiety and paranoia. Also refrain from stepping out if you’re feeling dizzy and/or dazed as it’s not physically safe.

Take a cold shower

This might not be the most convenient option to sober up, especially if you’re not at home, but it’s truly a simple yet effective way to relax as you wait for the high to dissipate. When you are anxious, you experience an increase in blood pressure, and a cold shower is said to help bring it down. It also boosts endorphin or happy hormone levels in the brain, but more research is needed to prove this theory.

Sniff or chew some black peppercorn

Black pepper, also known as the king of spices, is one of the most common ingredients found in kitchens and restaurants everywhere. The spice contains high amounts of alpha-pinene, which acts as “a potent inhibitor” to THC, taming its intoxicating effects and calming your THC-soaked brain.

While it sounds dubious, this is a scientific, evidence-based claim that even Neil Young swears by. So next time your high has you feeling on edge and you want it diminished, just take a couple of deep breaths with a bottle of ground pepper next to your nose or pop some black peppercorns into your mouth and chew away.

Have a dose of lemons

Lemons contain limonene and other compounds that have a powerful calming effect. When ingested, this refreshing fruit helps dispel intoxication by neutralizing the psychoactive effects of THC. Some make a freshly squeezed lemon juice, but to get the most bang for your buck, make sure to use the peel as it contains the highest concentration of limonene. We recommend zesting the lemon peel into your water or steeping some in hot water.

Glass of water and lemon
Glass of water with lemon

Counteract with CBD

Cannabidiol is an excellent anxiolytic compound that can be used to offset the effects of THC. It works like a dimmer switch, calming the excess signaling in the brain’s endocannabinoid system. Put simply, this cannabinoid can help you come down with ease when you’re too stoned.

Hemp-derived CBD products only contain 0.3% THC or lower, so this is a legal option in all US states. Available in an incredible array of options, CBD products are commonly offered over-the-counter or can also be purchased with a prescription. Sadly, the commercial CBD products used in a study conducted in Kings College in London varied in quality and had significantly below CBD content than those employed in controlled clinical trials. If possible, it’s best to acquire one from a dispensary as products sold in legal pot shops are labeled so consumers can see exactly how much CBD and (if any) THC are in the merchandise.

Take some ibuprofen

Surprise! Surprise! Just when you think ibuprofen couldn’t be more useful, it turns out that it has another application — reducing high from marijuana. Apart from anecdotal evidence, a 2013 animal study conducted in the University of Louisiana’s School of Medicine found that certain anti-inflammatory medications can offset the intoxicating effects of weed and reduce its adverse impact on cognition.

If you want to try this option, you’ll likely have a type of ibuprofen in your home medicine cabinet. In case you don’t, it can easily be purchased from the nearest drug store without a prescription, typically in doses of 200–400 mg.

Sober Up And Learn Your Limits

Most cannabis consumers have been in an uncomfortable situation due to intense high. Stoned out of our wits and panic-stricken, there’s no shame in admitting we asked the universe for some miracle antidote that will give instant sobriety. The cosmos answered with radio silence, but, fortunately, there are a couple of tried-and-tested tricks that can do the job not instantaneously but quick enough.

Maybe you want to sober up because your boss suddenly demands that you go to work after you’ve just finished a fat joint, or you toked before receiving a call from your mother-in-law saying she’s dropping by and is only 30 minutes away from your place. You may even have absolutely zero obligations, commitments, or worries whatsoever, and you just want to come down from an unpleasant high. Regardless of your reason, there are shortcuts to achieving a diminished, manageable buzz. You can pop an ibuprofen or black peppercorns into your mouth or sip hot lemon peel tea. If you’re not dazed, you can even enjoy a short walk to distract and calm your mind.

Smiling man passng a joint
Smiling man passing a joint of marijuana

Of course, nothing beats preventing an unpleasant weed experience by taking it low and slow. Do this until you learn your limits and the right dosage that brings the desired results. This is especially crucial for relatively new users.

To ease into the experience, we recommend not going above the standard dose of 10 to 5 mg for edibles and waiting at least an hour or two before going for more. When consuming through inhalation, give it a couple of minutes for the effects to settle before taking another hit. Occasional or newer users attending a group sesh should also avoid sitting in a smoking circle that could go on puffing and passing for up to an hour.

Enjoy weed with like-minded friends you are comfortable with, and don’t consume more out of pressure. Bear in mind that making new acquaintances is a lot easier when you’re flying happily above your inhibitions. On the flip side, no one’s having fun when it soars too high that it becomes unpleasant and anxiety-ridden. If you have other tips that are not on this list, please don’t hesitate to let us know. We’d also like you to tell us how long you stay high in the comments section. Share your tolerance level, typical marijuana dosage, and the potency that gets you floating on cloud nine. The more information we have, the more accurate our articles will be.