Author: Selena Toomey
Are you new to cannabis or curious about your options? Have you ever wondered what to do when dealing with the uncomfortable side effects of too much THC? Here are some tips to help you have the best experience possible!
“Smoked or vaporized cannabis that enters the lungs passes directly to the brain via the blood system; the effects are usually felt within 30 to 90 seconds. The dose is easy to control. Decarboxylized & solubilized cannabis that is eaten passes through the stomach & liver before entering the blood system. Effects normally appear in 45 to 60 minutes & last up to 12 hours. Dosage is more difficult to control.” 
Plan Out Your Experience
Before we address the course of action if you consume too much, let’s go over a few tidbits on where, when, how & what you choose to consume.
Whether you’re venturing out into new territory with ingestible products or smoking/vaping for the very first time, environment is key! It is highly recommended that you place yourself in comfortable surroundings before beginning this journey. Home is usually the wisest place to start as it is your refuge & provides security.
Clear your schedule, be sure the next 12 to 24 hours are free of responsibility. You wouldn’t want to sleep through an alarm or feel groggy when having obligations. 
Set Yourself Up for Success
- Have plenty of healthy snacks prepared & ready to devour if necessary.
- Have your favorite music and/or movie queued up & ready to go.
- Have a friend on speed dial or with you ready & waiting to entertain and/or distract you if needed.
You are more likely to fall asleep & miss the whole experience if you consume too much cannabis regardless of delivery. So don’t get all crazy … keep it light & enjoy the ride.
Edibles & Oral Ingestion
When it comes to edibles, (regardless of what the label says) always give yourself at least 2 hours before even considering the idea of consuming more. There are far too many variables to be sure when or how your body will respond… be patient.
With an overabundance of edible options available, it’s important to begin by considering what you would enjoy if you were purchasing something non-medicated. Do you prefer chocolate; (milk, dark), baked goods (cookies, cake), candy (hard, soft), something savory (snack mix, nuts) or a beverage perhaps (orange juice, lemonade, ginger ale)? The options are plenty! You want the experience to be pleasant from beginning to end. So, if you can’t stand caramel, don’t buy caramel!
5mg is a perfect “beginner” dose (this goes for those of you who are accustomed to the psychotropic effects of smoking/vaping cannabis too). If you’re not pleased with the results, you’ll know that for next time! Keep a journal & dose yourself accordingly. It’s always better to not have enough than to have too much. Ingesting cannabis is a much different experience than inhaling cannabis smoke or vapor. 2.5 to 5mg increments is the amount a neurologist would recommend you consume to provide a psychoactive effect. The OHA recommends 10 to 15mg for medical patients & the OLCC recommends 5mg doses for recreational users.   For more about edibles, check out our blog post here.
Inhalation provides a much quicker result (effects will be felt immediately and peak within 45-60 minutes) & therefore may be a better choice for those who prefer not to wait. As with edibles, keep in mind, we are all different, and depending on your health, choice of cultivar & method of inhalation, the effects will vary. Allow yourself to truly embrace the effects fully before consuming more. Some cultivars will feel like a warm cozy blanket, some like a spacesuit, some make you feel like you have morphed into Mr. Gadget & have expandable limbs – the list goes on.
Document Your Experience
From the moment you begin this awesome journey you should record every second. If you’re inhaling, take notes on the aroma & flavor of the flower… who is the cultivator & what did you like or dislike about the specific cultivar you chose. What were the effects… did your toes begin to tingle first or did your legs feel heavy, did you have the giggles or the munchies or feel extremely euphoric & happy? Did you feel energized or like your heart was racing, did you feel foggy or drowsy… all these effects coincide with the aroma, flavor & cultivator so be sure to log all the information you can. Note the time. Duration is hugely important while learning your dose. Are you ingesting? How much time passed before you began to feel the effects, was it before or after a meal, how long did it take to peak… were you uncomfortable or unimpressed with the results? Think deeply & focus.
What to Do If You’ve Overdone It
Everyone is different, you may be ultra-sensitive with the effects providing a much more intense result than you had anticipated or you may have an extremely high tolerance & not notice much of a difference initially. No matter how many precautions you take, it’s not unheard of to have a little too much… here are a few tips just in case this happens to you.
Dr. Andrew Weil teaches a relaxing yogic breathing technique called the 4-7-8 breath: Sitting comfortably, empty your lungs through the mouth with a whoosh. Close your mouth and fill your lungs by inhaling through your nose on a mental count of four. Hold your breath for a count of seven, then slowly exhale through the mouth, with a whoosh, over a count of eight. Repeat four times. 
Get the Most Out of Your High
Eat! I personally love to cook while under the influence of cannabis, but indulging in a meal is even better! You’ll enjoy every nuance of your food … every spice, texture, flavor, smell … fill your belly & allow the food to soften the effects of what you’ve consumed.
Watch television or listen to music… it’s amazing how entertaining a corny movie can be while high… allow your mind to become distracted with something aside from the psychoactive effects & focus on the screen. Check out Rolling Stone’s list of the “10 Best Stoner Movies of All Time.”
Dance! If you’re experiencing a sensation that’s making you feel antsy… play music & dance or exercise to keep your mind off of what you’re experiencing… you won’t even think about the psychoactive effects that may have been disturbing you before you began.
Organize! Take advantage of the effects & organize your closet, photos, file cabinet… your mind is ready to focus on a task, make it a useful one.
Have a friend check on you … think of it as a blind date… set up guidelines. If your friend calls & you don’t answer or return the call w/in a specific amount of time, have your friend plan to come over as a backup plan.
If you are going to a concert, movie theatre, or even a stroll around the neighborhood… be sure to have someone with you whom you trust & feel safe with. Again, I can’t reiterate enough, there’s no way of guaranteeing your results so be prepared for anything.
Bottom line, cannabis is a mind-altering plant. As with anything we allow ourselves to indulge in… use moderation & enjoy every moment of its fleeting pleasure.
 J. Cervantes, “Cooking with medical cannabis – Decarboxylation and Solubilization,” in The Cannabis Encyclopedia, 2015, p. 558.
 M. Backes, “Using Medical Cannabis,” in Cannabis Pharmacy, 2014, 2017, p. 85.
 M. Sherrard, “A Beginner’s Guide To Marijuana Dosing,” Civilized.Life.
 K. S. D. H. S. A. edited by G.G. Nahas, “Marihuana and Medicine,” Humana Press Inc., Totowa, NJ, p. Part III/Pharmacology and Physiopathology.
M. Andrew Weil, “Three Breathing Exercises And Techniques,” DrWeil.com, Reviewed by B.S. Gonzalez, M.D. 5/2016.