Back in 2014, Neil Young was being interviewed by Howard Stern. With Young being Canadian and a defining songwriter of the hippie movement, the conversation naturally drifted towards cannabis.
“You still smoke weed?” Howard inquired.
“Every once in a while, just a little tiny bit…” Young replied.
“I can’t do it. Makes me paranoid,” Stern replied, surprisingly….
Without skipping a beat, the old crazy horse said, “Try black peppercorns. Just chew two or three pieces. I just found this out myself. Try it.”
Young apparently swears by the practice of always keeping a few peppercorns on hand to chew if he finds himself veering towards the paranoid edge. While crunching on a couple of peppercorns has a bit of the ol’ wives’ tale about it, there appears to be a certain amount of validity to his technique.
Wait, Do Peppercorns Really Work When You’re Too High?
The British Journal of Pharmacology published a paper that notes that pepper has a “phytocannabinoid-terpenoid entourage effect” that has been shown to help pain, inflammation, anxiety, depression, epilepsy, cancer, fungal and bacterial infections.
Reading through the list of ailments that peppercorns can be used to treat, you could be forgiven for thinking they were talking about cannabidiol, otherwise known as CBD.
As the discussion about the medical and recreational cannabis has spread like, well, a weed across the country, more and more people are looking to this wonder plant as a potential treatment for a wide berth of problematic illnesses and afflictions.
While much of the intoxication lovin’ population of the United States of America is gung ho about the myriad virtues of going full rec, others want the stigma-busting CBD to be the horse upon which we ride to legislative battle on.
But while CBD is finding an audience amongst the sickly and those that unsure about the stone, there’s ample reason to believe that CBD could play a crucial role in every stoner’s toolkit.
There has been a number of credible scientific studies—as well as troves of anecdotal evidence—that suggest that CBD can be utilized as a “cure” for being wayyyyyyy too high from THC overconsumption.
Sure, for some of you out there, THC overconsumption just isn’t a thing.
For you, there is no edge. You’re a sphere, an orb-like couch-locked continuum that can huff every joint, roast every bowl, devour every edible, and dab every dab that passes your right and leaves your left. You’re Cheech and Chong. You’re Mr. Nice on holiday in Jamaica. You’re Brad f**king Pitt in True Romance.
But for the rest of us, we’re going to assume that if you partake on any kind of regular basis, there’s a very good chance that you’ve found your edge, hurtled over it, and dripped into a confused blob under the kitchen table for a couple of hours.
Many instances of overconsumption stem from edibles (sorry!). For years, consuming edibles meant rolling the dice. Marred by inconsistent amounts of poorly distributed THC, most people’s experience with edibles is unfortunately the product of shoddy—read: baked—guesswork in someone’s kitchen.
With legalization and legitimacy of the cannabis industry, this has changed dramatically. Finally we have some consistency, some standards, and some accountability.
(Side note: these chronic inconsistencies and the industry-wide lack of standards are exactly why KushyPunch originally launched back in 2014. Our founder Ruben Cross wanted something healthy, potent and consistent but couldn’t find anything on the market. To this day, these are still the most important tenets of the business. Read more about our story here.)
But administering THC through the liver is very different than going through the lungs. We’ll pass the mic to our chief scientist Carolina Vasquez.
“When your liver metabolizes THC it is transformed into another molecule called 11-Hydroxy-Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or delta-11. This is a simple reaction, with only one bond changing from the left to the right. This molecule is very strong compared with THC. The effects are similar but the sedation is higher, and the lifetime of that molecule can be seven, sometimes as long as 12 hours. Simply put, edibles are stronger and they last longer. So be careful!”
Of course, none of this was such a big problem back in Neil Young’s day, when hippies were slingin’ sticks, seeds and stems. But now that scientists like Carolina are involved in the cultivation and production of marijuana and its various products, the game has changed big time.
But a lack of comprehensive knowledge about the nuances of THC and CBD, and how these critical compounds ballet dance around one another, lead to cultivators seeing CBD as something undesirable.
In this next section, we’ll explain how THC and CBD actually work, and explore research into how they can happily counteract one another and help you disembark from the struggle bus at the next stop
How CBD and THC Interact With One Another
THC interacts with the CB1 receptor in your brain, and the end result is that the user gets high.
THC’s mission is to massage that CB1 receptor into a merry, serene lull. For a long time, CBD was considered an antagonist to THC. It’s presence in cannabis was thought to only diminish the effectiveness of the THC, which lead cultivators to drive down its presence in the plant and push for higher levels of the good stuff.
One byproduct of THC and CBD’s yin and yang relationship was that CBD got some recognition as useful tool to bring you down from the clouds.
The First Official Study into CBD to Bring Down Your High
In 1974, the European Journal of Pharmacology published the groundbreaking results of the first study into the effects of THC and CBD in a controlled setting. Eight groups were either given a placebo or 30 mg oral THC and a placebo, 15 mg, 30 mg, or 60 mg of oral CBD.
Using heart rate as an indicator, the study found that 30mg and 60mg doses of CBD could reduce a racing heart rate induced by THC overconsumption, while psychological analysis showed an overall reduction in anxiety and paranoia related to being too damn high.
But That Isn’t Conclusive…
While being widely cited, subsequent studies contradict the findings in this report, finding little evidence that THC consumption brings your heart rate back down to a suitable tempo.
That being said, they did show that CBD can counteract the paranoia and anxiety that accompanies overconsumption.
But as we’re only beginning to really discover now, CBD has a far more compelling spectrum of applications and uses beyond merely blocking or reversing the effects of THC.
Because it is molecularly similar and targets the same receptors in the brain, CBD can actually block some of the psychoactive effects of THC. It has been observed that CBD can actually block the effects of other drugs too, which is why it has become increasingly compelling as a solution to opioid addiction.
So what is the takeaway here?
The absolute best way to avoid getting way too high is to buy a consistent product (*cough* KushyPunch *cough*) and to start low, and go slow.
When smoking flower or vaping, you’ll be able to tell pretty quickly whether you’ve stepped over the edge. That’s when you abruptly pull the parachute, pass to the left, head to the bathroom, splash your face with water, pop a KushyCBD, and breeeeeeeeathe.
When it comes to edibles, the high comes in hard and sometimes out of nowhere, locking you into a steady cloudwards trajectory for 2-3 hours after it first hits. That’s why we recommend dosing lightly and upping it gradually throughout your session.
But if it happens to go wrong, just bang a KushyCBD, pretend that you have a very pressing business call to take, and walk around the neighborhood muttering to yourself for at least an hour.
And if you’re dabbing, God help you. Remember that you are an edgeless sphere….
While CBD hasn’t been consistently shown to reduce some of the physical symptoms of over-ingestion in clinical trials, evidence that CBD reduces paranoia and anxiety is fairly consistent.
We certainly recommend that you have some CBD on hand, particularly if you’re someone that likes to experiment with new products and different delivery methods.
But the golden rule with all substances is: you can always take more but you can never take less.