One of the biggest reasons people like to smoke weed is that it chills them out. 40 percent of cannabis users say their primary motivation is relaxation. And yet getting lit does not always lead to this desired effect.

Research shows a substantial increase recently among people in cannabis-legal states for emergency room trips due to weed consumption, as reported by The Cannabist. Most of these trips are because of stress. People smoke or dab or eat too much and they have a panic attack that gives them the feeling that they might be dying.

So what happened to chilling? Well, according to researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago, these people just aren’t doing it right. According to the authors of a new study, some THC will make a person’s stress decrease, but a lot will make their stress shoot up, as reported by The Washington Post.

Researchers at UIC gave stress tests to three different groups of test subjects. One of them consumed 7.5 milligrams of THC, another took 12.5 mg of THC, and another took a placebo. The stress tests consisted of putting them in the shoes of a teenage stoner in pretty much the most anxiety-producing situation imaginable. They had to take exams while high.

First they were made to give a five minute speech, then to take an oral math test for two interviewers while being videotaped. Tests were then scored and each subject was asked to rate their anxiety level.

Versus a placebo, a little bit of THC did the trick. It “reduced the duration of negative emotional responses to acute psychosocial stress, and participants’ post-task appraisals of how threatening and challenging they found the stressor,” according to the researchers.

But more THC actually took you over the hill and back down again, producing a “small but significant increases in anxiety, negative mood and subjective distress” before and during the tests.

Of course, tolerance, context, and consumption method can change things. A hardcore dabaholic inhales 12.5 mg of THC between just to keep their high up and an average joint contains 33 to 39 mg, according to The Cannabist. But everyone is different. The trick is, if you wanna avoid the heeby jeebies while toking, to just go slow and feel your high out.

Photo via Flickr user Nina A. J. G.