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What is a bad trip from cannabis and how to avoid it?

Disclaimer: All information provided in this article is for educational purposes only. This article is in no way intended to entice, encourage or incite anyone to abuse any substance.

What is a bad trip?

A bad trip or "bad trip" is a term that refers to a traumatic experience after using a drug. This condition is caused by certain types of drugs, especially psychedelics. Psychedelic drugs such as DMT, LSD, psilocybin and mescaline cause trips with a strong change in perception and/or hallucinations. 

In general, a bad trip is characterised by hallucinations, visions, thoughts or thought patterns that are negative, frightening or destructive. An endless negative thought loop forms in your head, and you feel like you can't get out of it. Other symptoms of a "bad trip" include psychosis or paranoia. 

In this article, we will not discuss the bad trip induced by psychedelic substances, but we will discuss the cannabis bad trip. Cannabis and psychedelics are often compared to each other, although this is like comparing coffee and ecstasy, as their effects are quite different.  

The cannabis bad trip

Cannabis is not a typical drug that induces bad trips. But that doesn't mean it's not possible. It does happen, albeit quite rarely. Most of the time, however, it is a so-called "high". It's a strong high or a total overdose of cannabis.

THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is responsible for the hallucinogenic effect in cannabis, and can cause a bad trip in some users. However, it should be added that THC must be consumed in very high doses to cause such a state. In particular, strains containing high concentrations of THC can trigger panic attacks, paranoia, anxiety and other symptoms of a bad trip.

In addition to its high THC content, cannabis can also trigger bad trips in other cases, especially when combined with other substances and drugs such as alcohol.  

 

The way cannabis is consumed depends on

Cannabis can be consumed in the following ways:

How cannabis is consumed has a major impact on how quickly it affects the body. 

Edibles take longer to take effect, but can produce a more intense experience. Edibles often push even experienced users past their tolerance limit. Always keep in mind that edibles have a slow onset, their effects usually occur after 30-45 minutes. 

Dabbing, like taking edibles, is destined to induce a strong high. This method of cannabis consumption involves vaporising cannabis concentrates that contain a high concentration of cannabinoids (e.g. 95% HHC). A dabbing rig or dabbing device is used for dabbing. 

When dabbing, the endocannabinoid system in the body can be expected to be flooded with a particular cannabinoid that is in high concentration, which could just stimulate negative feelings, even in the most experienced users. Again, dosage plays a crucial role.

How to avoid a bad trip?

We've already bitten the bullet - the simplest advice for avoiding a cannabis bad trip is not to consume too much. Too much cannabis can result in unpleasant intoxication and an overall bad situation. 

  • Get your cannabis from a safe source. 

The least you can do is know what you're ingesting.

  • Respect your tolerance level.

If you have the experience that one joint stirs up intense nervousness and anxiety in you, it's probably not advisable to have two. 

  • Take into account your state of mind.

If you are in a good mood, feeling good, you are likely to experience moments of laughter and ease. If you are in a bad mental state, negative emotions may occur. Whether you are not feeling emotionally or mentally well, with cannabis the feelings will surface.

  • Be in an environment where you feel good.

Some users feel better in a quiet and familiar environment, such as a cozy living room, whereas others prefer a location in nature. Find an environment that feels safe and peaceful to you.

  • Surround yourself with friends

If possible, especially in the beginning, do not be alone when consuming cannabis. If one of you happens to have a bad trip from cannabis, others can help you deal with it. The same goes for you if you fall into a bad state, tell your friends.

How to get rid of a cannabis bad trip?

Do you know what the good thing about a bad cannabis experience is? It's not life-threatening. Most of the time, it's all about realizing you're under the influence of a psychotropic substance. Although it's easier said than done, you need to try to relax and not panic.

If you ever find yourself in this situation, remember that there are no documented cases of death from cannabis overdose, so no matter how strange or unsteady you feel at the time, you will not die. Try to stay calm and remind yourself that everything will be fine again.

Although a cannabis (THC) overdose does not result in death, it can cause negative side effects such as:

  • Nausea
  • shortness of breath
  • disorientation
  • uncontrollable shaking
  • increased heart rate

Overdose can also result in loss of consciousness, called holotropic or tropic. It's rare, but it does happen. This occurs when cannabis is very strong, usually this experience is also associated with synthetic cannabinoids. 

After a collapse, the user usually feels out of it, the heart races, they may have significant muscle tremors, can't stand on their feet, and generally have slower perception. The good news is that even this condition goes away. Again, we would like to emphasize the need to keep telling yourself at that particular moment that it is only temporary and you will be fine again.

Table:  Advice on how to get rid of the bad trip from cannabis

How to get rid of the bad trip

Description

Don't panic

Symptoms usually go away within minutes or hours, depending on the strength of the cannabis you've consumed.

Try to throw yourself into a calm

Divert your attention to something that will calm you down or at least distract you. For example, try a hot bath to relax you.

Change the environment

If possible, leave the room and get some fresh air, take a short walk or find a quiet place to sit for a while. 

Drink a lot

Whether you prefer juice, water or lemonade (ideally decaffeinated), stick to a drinking regime.


Drinking will not only help alleviate dry mouth, but it will also help to make you feel less sick overall. 

Eat up

Have a snack on hand (e.g. fruit, nuts, chocolate bar or cheese), in short, anything you like.

Focus on your breathing

Try to control your breathing. Take deep breaths in and out slowly until you feel yourself calming down. 


This habit takes some practice, but once you get the hang of it, you'll be able to nip cannabis-induced panic in the bud.

Try a fun activity

The activity will keep you distracted, whether you choose to watch a movie, play video games, or listen to music, it should be an activity that evokes pleasant emotions.

Take a nap 

Once you find yourself in a quiet space, such as your bedroom, lie back and relax.

Have a pepper

Chewing pepper can offer almost instant relief from a bad mood.


Although it has not been proven, some suggest that the terpenes in black peppercorns provide a grounding effect.

Try CBD

One 2019 study suggests that CBD (a non-psychoactive cannabinoid) mitigates the psychotropic potential of THC, likely contributing to a reduction in the miserable experience of THC.

HHC bad trip

HHC, or hexahydrocannabinol, is a semi-synthetic cannabinoid that is obtained through a laboratory process. Although it is found in trace amounts in the cannabis plant, extracting it would be very expensive, so it is produced by a process called hydrogenation. Originally, HHC was created as a hydrogenated version of THC, but because THC is illegal in most countries, HHC is produced from industrial hemp (CBD).

HHC is likely to bind very efficiently to the CB1 receptor, but at a lower intensity than THC. These receptors are mainly located in the brain and central nervous system, which is why HHC has psychoactive properties. The exact mechanism of how cannabinoids act in the endocannabinoid system is still under investigation.

HHC produced in the laboratory is a mixture of two different stereoisomers - (9R)HHC and (9S)HHC. The stereoisomer (9R)HHC is active and binds to endocannabinoid receptors in the body, (9S)HHC is an inactive compound. If (9R)HHC predominates in the product, it means that the product will be more effective
As HHC is a relatively new cannabinoid, there is currently not enough research examining its effects on the body. Some users feel euphoria, more energy, sociability, a boost in relaxation and improved sleep.

Anyway, you're undoubtedly wondering about the HHC bad trip, right? Here again we would like to point out that it very much depends on the method of consumption, the dose of HHC and the strength of the particular product. However, yes, an HHC bad trip is possible, it has even been described by several users on Reddit.

Some users have reported having a panic attack, feeling split consciousness between reality and visions, dizziness, and visual sensations being revealed when closing their eyes. There are also mentions that HHC has caused some users to have bad trip after-effects in the form of flashbacks that have been occurring for some time.

In general, the biggest problem is that due to the lack of regulation of HHC, some manufacturers may, for example, add various substances. More than one user has experienced an HHC bad trip after taking edibles, seeing the blame as just the substance not being adequately controlled.

Should you find yourself on an HHC bad trip, implement the advice already mentioned on how to get rid of such a condition. 

 

Cannabis bad trip consequences

Cannabis is often seen as a potential starter for mental illness. Regular consumers have many times the risk of developing schizophrenia, and are likely to develop toxic psychosis, anxiety and depressive disorders. However, it is still unclear whether cannabis is really the cause of psychosis. It seems that the possibility of developing psychotic illness is related to the dose of cannabis, i.e. the more cannabis, the greater the chance of developing the illness.

We already know that cannabis enhances mood before intoxication, which is why cannabis bad trips can occur. It can happen that paranoid states sometimes persist and a so-called toxic psychosis develops, sometimes with permanent consequences. 

Generally, however, a mentally healthy individual is not at risk of permanent consequences after a cannabis bad trip. 

Summary

Cannabis is not the classic drug that causes bad trips, but they can occur. Mostly these are overdoses of cannabis containing high concentrations of THC. Cannabis overdose does not result in death, but can cause unwanted side effects. Edibles and dabbing are among the methods of consumption that can induce a very strong high. A bad trip can also occur with HHC. 

There are some guidelines that can eliminate the risk of a bad trip from cannabis: only use the substance from a safe source, respect your tolerance level, control your mental state, and find a relaxing environment.

 

 

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