How does THC actually get you “high”?
THC Tolerance is something a lot of new cannabis users are curious about. The first thing to understand is how does THC actually get you high? THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is a molecular compound called a cannabinoid. It interacts within the body with a system called the endocannabinoid system. When it enters the bloodstream through the lungs or digestion, it activates the CB1 receptor, which help mediate cannabinoids responsible for stimulating psychoactivity.
Brain scans portraying the prefrontal cortex have shown increased blood flow when exposed to THC. The prefrontal cortex regulates attention, decisions, and motor skills. Depending on your body’s THC tolerance, these functions may be affected to different degrees.
Is it the same for everybody?
The quick answer to this is, no. The effects of THC vary in strength based on what is called your tolerance level. If you have any experience consuming alcohol, it is a similar phenomenon. Some people feel the effects quicker and more heavily, and for others the effects are slow on the uptake and don’t last as long. It’s a completely subjective experience and the only real way to know is to try it yourself. Just make sure to start low, and go slow.
How do I know in advance what my THC tolerance level is?
Tolerance level is normally based on frequency of use. For example, if you smoke three joints each day, you will have a much higher tolerance than someone who smokes three joints a year. Using alcohol as a comparison again, the individual who drinks once every three months will have a much lower tolerance than one who drinks heavily three times each week.
In some cases, which are more rare, some people are naturally resistant to the effects of THC. Some people will say they have tried smoking weed before, and didn’t feel anything. Although this is very uncommon, it is still possible. However, it is more likely that the individual didn’t inhale properly, or ingested too small of a dose to feel the effects. Everyone has an endocannabinoid system, so feeling the effects is really a matter of consuming the correct dose for you.
Lower THC tolerance means that you will feel the effects more strongly. There are pros and cons to this. The pros are you can spend less money and consume less of the substance to feel the effects. The negative side is it it easier to overdo it, consuming too much and getting too high. In the world of cannabis, this is called “greening out”.
What is “Greening Out”?
Greening Out is when you consume too much cannabis too quickly and the effects are overwhelming. You may experience strong anxiety, intense sensory awareness, and a loss of conception of time. The effects are felt to such a high degree that sometimes people turn a little green in the face. As a result, paired with the slang “green” for cannabis, the term Green Out was born.
You may have experienced this yourself, or seen a friend in this position. Often, the result is someone locking themselves in the bathroom, or leaving the vicinity early, without telling anyone, to sprint home to safety.
Always remember, you’ll be fine
If you are greening out, there is only one thing to remember: you’re going to be fine. Keep reminding yourself that the high will eventually fade and you’ll feel completely normal after a few hours. Worst comes to worst, you’ll go to sleep stoned, but you wake up feeling normal again. If the hazy, smouldering effects are still there in the morning, it’s nothing a good espresso or a workout won’t fix.
Ok, I’m too high. How do I stop feeling this way?
The easiest answer to this is time. Ride it out, my friend. But, if you’re feeling too overwhelmed and uncomfortable, here are some things you can do to bring yourself down.
Meditate with breathing
- Often people who are greening out think they are going to have a heart attack because their heart it beating so quickly as a result of so much stimulation.
- A great way to lower your heart beat is to sit in one place, stop moving and focus on your breathing.
- Take 30 deep breaths, inhaling for 7 seconds, holding for 3 second, and exhaling for 7 seconds. This will slow your heart rate as well as calm you down
Eat some food
- Indulge your frenetic need for munchies. Eating a bunch of food will also help you relax, while also giving your active mind something to focus on.
- If you eat foods that are high in fat, remember one thing: cannabinoids bind to fat molecules. If you want to lessen your high, stay away from fatty foods, and indulge in some citrus fruits or vitamin C tablets.
- A trick that works for some is sniff some black peppercorns. Many users swear by this.
Have a shower or a bath
- Having a shower or a bath will give you something solitary to do that is distracting, yet a calming experience.
- Having a shower is a routine that everyone is used to, and it’s normalizing.
- It will help to remind you that you are still capable of doing normal human things.
- Throw in some epsom salts into your bath to bring the experience to the next level.
- Drinking water will help you calm down and relax. It’s important to stay hydrated at all times.
- Sometimes when you’re really stoned, some relief for cottonmouth is all you need to calm down. Keep some water in your backpack, side bag or purse. Be prepared to battle cottonmouth!
Go to sleep
- Time is the best way to break your cannabis high. Remember, you’ll feel normal in the morning, or after a good solid nap.
- If you’re finding it difficult to sleep because of increasing anxiety, take a look back at step #1. Focus on your breathing and take some time to meditate.
At this point, you’re completely safe in the castle of your pillows and blankets. Don’t worry, you’re not going to die. Of the millions of people who have greened out before you, not a single one has died in their bed. You and your friends will laugh about this tomorrow morning.