If you are one of the hundreds of thousands people out there taking advantage of the benefits of cannabis, you probably also know the disappointment of a bad high. The panic, the paranoia, and the generally just intensely bad vibes feel inescapable until the high wears off. But what if it’s not? Cue sweet (possibly sour) relief in the form of citrus fruits.
For those who aren’t as familiar with marijuana, just know that people tend to indulge in weed for a good experience. So, if the high goes bad it’s sort of like getting diarrhea from your favorite meal. You went in with high hopes only to be betrayed and wind up questioning your life decisions. However, it turns out that citrus fruits can help to calm the effects of a bad high.
When what is supposed to be a mellow experience starts to turn into a panic attack, it can be hard to think rationally. But science is here to save the day with a citrus antidote. Some evidence suggests terpenes, like those found in lemons, can help ease the effects of THC, reports Healthline.
What the hell are terpenes? you might ask (because I most definitely did). Medical News Today explains that terpenes are “highly aromatic compounds that determine the smell of many plants and herbs.” Aside from being responsible for how a plant smells, the purpose terpenes serve in plants can vary. Some are meant to attract pollinators, while others do the opposite and serve to repel predators.
Shifting back over to your bad high, as it turns out, many citrus fruits such as lemon, oranges, grapefruit, etc., contain a terpene called limonene. The Limonene in citrus fruits is what helps to counteract the effects of THC.
“[Limonene] is rapidly absorbed and has numerous medicinal properties, including relief of heartburn, depression, and anxiety, and has been shown to have anticancer properties,” writes Dr. Dustin Sulak, co-founder and medical director for Healer.com, a medical cannabis brand.
“It is likely that the anti-anxiety effects of limonene are responsible for helping calm the uncomfortable aspects of cannabis intoxication.”
Sulak also notes that citrus juice contains less Limonene than the rind—a little lemon zest is the best way to stop a bad high. If you have lemons on hand, you could bite right into that little sour nugget or go easy on yourself and squeeze some into a glass of water, but the effects might take longer that way. No matter how you take your citrus, it’s worth reaching for a lemon, lime, or grapefruit next time you get a little too high.