We’ve all been there: You’re hopped up on shrooms, having an in-depth discussion with your friend’s pet turtle, when suddenly, you remember you have a job interview in an hour and you’ve got to get sober, fast.
…Okay, so maybe we haven’t all been there, but most of us have, for various reasons, found ourselves needing to sober up from something in a big hurry. If you haven’t got time to sleep it off, here’s what the experts say might help counteract whatever the hell you’re on.
Type of Intoxication: Alcohol
How to Sober Up: According to biochemist and medical cannabis advocate Junella Chin, you should “eat a meal rich in carbs, protein and fat.” This is by no means an instant fix, though: While downing that late-night burger will put you on the path to sobering up, it does not mean you’re instantly going to be okay to drive.
Why It Works: “This kind of food will help eliminate alcohol concentration from the body faster [by soaking up the booze],” says Chin. Eating a meal also helps increase blood flow to the liver, which helps the liver enzymes in the digestion and clearing out of the alcohol.
Type of Intoxication: Weed
How to Sober Up: According to Chin, your best bet is taking a shower and then going for a walk. Also, and more surprisingly, taking another form of cannabis may help — specifically, cannabidiol (CBD) oil.
Why It Works: Chin says that a shower “will help relax you,” which can offset the tachycardia (the fast heartbeat and panicked feeling) that can be a side effect of THC (the psychoactive component in weed). Walking, she says, helps since “light exercise will increase the endorphins in the brain to help metabolize the THC quicker.”
As for the CBD oil? “This will counteract the THC’s psychoactive effects,” she claims. “CBD and THC have an antagonistic effect on each other.” In other words, if your high has gotten a little more trippy than you intended, the CBD oil will help mellow you out.
Type of Intoxication: Magic mushrooms
How to Sober Up: Unfortunately, you’re pretty much shit out of luck when it comes to shrooms, according to Chin. “Essentially, you must allow it to run its course, which can take six to eight hours,” she says. The only other possible solution is to take drugs known as benzodiazepines — something you should NOT try to administer at home.
Why It Works: “In the hospital setting, we would administer benzodiazepines to patients to help reduce the intensity of the high [since they] serve to calm the patient down,” Chin says. “This must be done in a medical setting and closely monitored.” It’s also worth noting that even benzos don’t stop the trip entirely: They just make it more bearable by lowering the patient’s stress and anxiety to a more manageable level.
Type of Intoxication: Cocaine
How to Sober Up: Once again, benzodiazepines are your best bet.
Why It Works: Put simply: It’ll calm you down. But as with shrooms, it’s very important to follow Chin’s advice and to leave this to a hospital setting only. Mixing drugs like this can be deadly, so unless you want to go to the hospital (or worse), you’re better off just riding it out.
Type of Intoxication: Sugar high
How to Sober Up: If you’ve just downed a family-sized bag of M&Ms in one sitting, there are a few things that may help in getting you down from your sugar-induced hyperactive state — mainly proteins, fats and water. If there’s any room left in your stomach, try eating some nuts, an avocado or fiber-rich veggies like peas, spinach or potatoes.
Why It Works: “Paleo foods [like nuts, meats, fish and leafy greens] give you fat and protein to slow down your digestion, while the fiber helps slow the absorption of simple sugars,” Chin says. The end result is that the sugar’s path to your bloodstream gets slowed down, making you less hyper. As for the water? That’s just to make you feel more full so you eat less sweet stuff.
Type of Intoxication: Sleep deprivation
How to Sober Up: The best way to combat those feelings of grogginess or dulled senses when you’ve been up all night is not, surprisingly, to down three cups of coffee (although that’s certainly the easiest approach). You may be better off with supplements like tyrosine, magnesium and most of all, creatine.
Why It Works: While sleep deprivation reduces high-energy phosphates (the chemical reactions in your body that provide the energy for your bodily processes), creatine restores them, thus bringing back your strength, stamina and focus.
Tyrosine and magnesium are naturally occurring chemicals within the body, both of which become depleted with sleep deprivation, so taking supplements will help to restore your energy level. As for the classic cup of coffee, caffeine negates the brain chemical responsible for making you feel sleepy in the first place: Adenosine. So caffeine won’t stop you from needing sleep, but it’ll help fend off the urge for a little while.
Type of intoxication: Caffeine
How to Sober Up: If you went too far with the previous entry, the best antidote to the too-much-caffeine jitters is to drink lots of water, do some exercise and try a little deep breathing.
Why It Works: The deep breathing will help you focus and counteract the anxiety, while water will help flush the caffeine out of your system. The exercise burns off some of that excess energy and helps tire you out.
Type of Intoxication: Food coma
How to Sober Up: If you’re bloated and sleepy, but sports, Netflix binging or a night out with friends dictate you can’t go to bed yet, yoga can help. Also, drink some water.
Why It Works: Inverted positions like “downward dog” will help move blood flow from the stomach to the head, which will, in turn, activate the nervous system and accelerate digestion. Slowly sipping water (since you’re already full up) will “help ease digestion and thus [will] combat the […] sleepiness and low energy associated with a food coma,” according to Chin.
Type of Intoxication: Just being in an irritatingly good mood
How to Sober Up: The most common solutions to a shit-eating grin that won’t go away are biting your tongue or cheek and taking deep breaths, but a little empathy may also do the trick.
Why It Works: While biting your tongue or other body parts is simply about wiping the smile off your face, practicing empathy can be way more effective. If you’ve just received some great news but you’re in a situation that demands a sympathetic countenance, social worker Veronica Acevedo says to “try to put yourself in the other person’s shoes and imagine what they’re going through from their perspective.”
Type of Intoxication: MDMA, heroin or meth
How to Sober Up: You can’t. Sorry, pal.