If you’re a regular user of cannabis sometimes a bad trip is hard to avoid. Maybe you took one toke too many. Maybe you shouldn’t of eaten those edibles by the handful. Maybe you should of been patient instead of accusing the edible of not working yet.
Signs you are having a bad trip
It’s pretty obvious if you’re having a bad trip. You’re not enjoying yourself and the bad thoughts are creeping it. Some symptoms may include:
- Shortness of breath
- Elevated heart rate
- High anxiety
- Hyper tension
- Hyper ventilating
- Dry mouth
- Burning eyes
I’ve had every single one of these symptoms at some point in my life. If you are new to cannabis and have dealt with one or more of these side effects here’s what you can do to alleviate the situation.
Once you recognize that you are having a bad trip ignore all distractions and pay attention to your breathing pattern. You may be shocked to find it’s irregular and you’re not breathing properly at all. This can cause a domino effect of other symptoms such as an elevated heart rate, shortness of breath and high anxiety.
Once you can get control of your breathing the rest of your body should follow suit. “Just relax!” is easier said than done in these situations. Of course having someone else there can help talk you through it or they can distract you from the bad trip. If you’re alone, relaxing will have to be a conscious effort.
If you can, get up and start to walk around. Go outside and get some air. Breathe deep as you walk. If you get the feeling that staying in one spot creates the feeling of the walls closing in or your brain is acting all wonky then it’s time to move around.
It will end
If there is one thing to keep repeating in your head it’s that this will end. While THC can have potent effects it won’t end you.
Everyone is different so there is no set timeline as to when the effects will wear off. If you smoked/vaped marijuana the effects should wear off in less than three hours. Ingesting edibles is a whole other ballgame. Those effects can last far longer depending on how much you took and if you took them on an empty stomach.
While the effects can be scary remember that it does wear off and this won’t last forever. If you feel like you’re having a bad trip the best and only way to overcome it is to wait it out. What do we usually do when we need to wait something out? We distract ourselves.
Video games have always helped me when I’m on a bad trip because I’m able to focus on completing a goal. Sitting and watching something on tv runs the risk of it being boring. If the true crime doc on Netflix does not grab my attention I’ll start thinking about my bad trip. That will make it worse. Distracting myself by blowing the heads off some zombies or scoring a goal in Rocket League makes the time pass much more quickly. Before you know it you’re sober again and you can now laugh about how bad you were tripping balls.
What if you don’t play video games? It doesn’t matter just do something that will grab your attention. Your brain plays tricks on you when you’re bad tripping you need to help it focus on something else until it passes. Focusing on your bad trip is a recipe for madness.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could drink or eat something that would stop the bad trip in its tracks? Just like that elusive hangover cure there doesn’t seem to be a miracle cure just yet. There is hope though.
According to a 2013 study there is a correlation with marijuana and low blood sugar. A recommended remedy is to inject some sugar to hopefully balance the craziness that dancing in your blood stream.
So when I get the munchies I can just down a tub of chocolate ice cream and pop tarts to ward off a bad trip? Not exactly. In fact experts warn to avoid chocolate because it can slow down the absorption of sugar so it will be counter-active. You also want to avoid artificial sweeteners as that will also do nothing for you.
The best thing to do if you feel that low blood sugar could be the culprit is to mix honey and water and chug it down or fruit/fruit juices.
While doing some research for this topic I found that a cold shower can also help with a bad trip. Apparently this can lower your heart rate and conserve oxygen in the body. The breathing exercises mentioned above can do that too and you won’t suffer hyperthermia. As someone who has suffered a few bad trips in their time this would be the last thing I would want to do. But to be fair I’ve never tried it.
Know your strain
It’s important to note the brand or the name of the strain you consumed. Before legalization it was near impossible to tell how much THC your boy’s weed would have. He’d come over and tell you the cute name of the bud and tell you it’s going to f*ck you up. Of course you would smoke it because you don’t want to be called “Nancy”.
Now that cannabis products can be researched before being purchased you should always look at the THC percentage and note the name of the strain. If you are new to cannabis you should avoid strains that are over 13% THC. If you try a strain that is 26% and you have not built a tolerance to any marijuana in your life it will hit you hard.
I’ll use myself as an example because I’m the writer and I’m in charge of this blog. “White Rhino” was a strain that I tried many moons ago. It wasn’t exactly store bought so all I knew about this strain was the name. I only had a few hits off of it.
It only took an hour but once it fully kicked in I suffered a severe anxiety attack. My hands felt numb and they were clasped (symptom of breathing irregularities) and I had an elevated heart rate. I remember I couldn’t sit still or it felt like I was suffocating. I walked around the whole house and ended up walking outside for 20 minutes. I came back in and I still felt like I was suffocating. Every time I stopped moving I felt like I couldn’t breathe. I knew I wasn’t haven’t a heart attack but my brain didn’t believe me. If you’ve never experienced this I hope you never do. It can be hard to explain but it was not pleasant.
It took hours for it to wear off and once it did I swore off cannabis. I quit for about 6 months. What I realized is that particular strain was meant for people who smoke joints like they’re cigarettes. It was for users who had an extremely high tolerance.
I’m glad I tried cannabis again and this time I found my strain. Tangerine Dream a sativa strain with a THC percentage around 12%. It helps me sleep, eat and lowers my anxiety. I’ve never bad tripped off of it but it took a few bad trips to find the right strain for me. If you’re a smart responsible cannabis user do your research.
The best way to combat a bad trip is to avoid it in the first place. I believe one of the best arguments for legalization is that we do have the education and resources to research the products we want to buy. Buying some random weed off a dealer could end up being White Rhino that will simulate a heart attack. Not fun.
Cannabis can be very positive for people and I hate to think a bad trip will turn someone off of it. Knowledge is power so do your homework and enjoy!