For those of us who try to get high regularly, it's hard to imagine killing a buzz on purpose. But, too much THC can make some people so anxious or paranoid that they freak out. If that's ever happened to you, or you got stuck babysitting the lightweight who couldn't handle his smoke, you know exactly what we're talking about.

With cannabis use becoming more mainstream and first-time use on the rise, this is happening much more often. Or, people just feel safer about getting help when they're uncomfortably high. According to the Colorado Public Health Department, the number of hospitalisations attributed to too much cannabis rose from 1,313 per 100,000 visits in 2011 to 3,025 in 2015. That's a significant increase, even if it was mostly tourists who got carried away.

Before you say that's a waste of good smoke, think about it. Even seasoned smokers have consumed too many edibles the first time they tried them and weren't able to come down for 8–12 hours. It might sound like fun, but eventually you have to go to work, or feed the dog, or change the channel.

As luck would have it, Mother Nature has provided a natural antidote to excess THC—olivetol.

WHAT IS OLIVETOL?

Despite the name, it has absolutely nothing to do with olives. It's most commonly found in lichen, a weird, mossy-looking, plant-like organism that's formed from algae and fungus.

For a very short period of time, olivetol also exists in cannabis. It's thought to be a precursor to THC.

HOW DOES OLIVETOL WORK?

When you look at olivetol's molecular structure, it'll look very familiar. It's as if someone took a THC molecule and sliced it in two. Olivetol, like THC, works by binding with the CB1 receptors that exist all over your body and brain. But, olivetol is thought to be smaller and stickier than THC, so that helps it reduce a raging high in two ways. First, it slips into any open receptors before THC can get there to block them—so you won't get any higher. Second, it bumps into THC molecules that are already lodged in a CB1 receptor to knock them loose and take their place. That's how it brings you down.

According to numerous personal accounts, olivetol works, but we don't know exactly how it does so. More research and investigation is needed, but in theory it's very similar to how Narcan acts to reverse opiate overdoses.

Lichen

HOW LONG BEFORE OLIVETOL STARTS WORKING?

If you've smoked or vaped cannabis, it'll take about 30 minutes to notice a difference. People who've eaten too many edibles may need to give olivetol a full hour (or a little more) before they start to feel more like their normal selves.

However, olivetol won't wash all the THC out of your body and leave you feeling totally sober. The anxiety and paranoia will go away, but you'll still feel relaxed, mellow, and happy. That's because THC does more than activate your CB1 receptors; it also stimulates GABA signalling and increases dopamine and serotonin.

CAN OLIVETOL HELP WITH MY NORMAL ANXIETY?

Unfortunately, it can't. If you take olivetol without any THC in your body, you won't feel anything at all.

If you battle anxiety on a daily basis and cannabis with high THC levels only makes it worse, try a CBD-rich strain or hemp-based CBD oils. This natural cannabinoid is known to calm nerves, reduce anxiety, and treat a wide range of health issues. Plus, it can also help bring you down when you've gotten way too high.

WHERE CAN I GET OLIVETOL?

At present, the only market-ready olivetol supplement you can source comes in the form of softgels, sold as a single branded product under the name UNDOO. The so-called "emergency supplement" is available to purchase online and locally in select dispensaries throughout the United States. If it catches on, availability may spread quickly because it doesn't contain any illegal substances in its own right.

Although olivetol is easy to extract from lichens if you have the equipment and know-how, we don't recommend that you do this on your own. As for eating it; no one's ever died from a cannabis overdose, but some lichen is toxic enough to kill you.

IS OLIVETOL SAFE TO USE?

Olivetol is still a very new product. It has not been researched nearly enough to prove it's safe to use. So far, no one has reported any adverse side effects as far as we know. Until more information is available, carefully control your THC intake instead of relying on an untested gelcap.

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