Greening Out: Causes, Symptoms, and How to Handle It

Last Updated on April 19, 2023

Green cannabis, one of the most powerful plants, provides its users with rather massive therapeutic effects for several conditions, such as anxiety, seizures, pain, and others.

However, taking a dose that is considered a bit too much can produce some unwanted effects. After the effects are in, it can further cause what is called greening out.

What Does Greening Out Mean? 

“Greening out” is a term used to describe the unpleasant symptoms experienced by individuals who overuse marijuana to get high or consume it in high doses. 

It’s essentially an overdose of cannabis that can cause a number of unpleasant effects. While marijuana can have therapeutic benefits, recreational use carries risks, especially when combined with other substances like alcohol. 

Crossfading, or mixing marijuana with other drugs, can also increase the likelihood of greening out. It’s important to use marijuana responsibly and in moderation to avoid these negative effects.

Greening Out imge by cannalyft

What Causes Greening Out?

THC and several other cannabinoids interact with the receptors in your system, including the ones in your brain, CB1 and CB2. Once you consume too much THC, the receptors in your brain become overwhelmed, leading to inadequate feelings.

Here are some of the Major Causes of Greening out:

Consuming too much THC: Greening out can occur when someone consumes too much THC, a psychoactive component in cannabis that produces the “high” sensation.

  1. Lack of Experience: New cannabis users are more likely to experience greening out because they may not be familiar with their tolerance levels and the effects of THC on their bodies.
  2. Mixing Substances: Using cannabis alongside other substances, such as alcohol or prescription medications, can increase the risk of greening out and other negative side effects.
  3. Dehydration: Cannabis use can cause dry mouth and dehydration, exacerbating the symptoms of greening out.
  4. Low Blood Sugar: THC can lower blood sugar levels, leading to lightheadedness, dizziness, and other symptoms of greening out.
  5. Anxiety or Panic: Cannabis use can sometimes trigger feelings of anxiety or panic, which can contribute to greening out.
  6. Pre-existing Medical Conditions: Individuals with certain medical conditions, such as low blood pressure or heart problems, may be more susceptible to greening out.

Common Symptoms of Greening Out 

The symptoms you feel and whether greening out will happen or not depends on several things, including the potency of the cannabis, your tolerance to THC, and several other factors.

Don’t worry; you won’t die as the THC can’t harm you as other heavy drugs can; however, it can cause colossal displeasure. However, be prepared for symptoms such as:

  • The first sign is that someone has consumed too much THC.
  • THC can cause changes in blood pressure that result in feelings of dizziness and lightheadedness.
  • Some people may experience excessive sweating or chills due to greening out.
  • THC can also cause feelings of anxiety, paranoia, and panic, which can be especially distressing during a greening-out episode.
  • THC can increase heart rate, which can be uncomfortable or alarming for some individuals.
  • People who are greening out may feel confused or disoriented, making it difficult to communicate or make decisions.
  • In rare cases, high doses of THC can cause hallucinations or delusions.

What are the Toxic Effects of Marijuana overdose?

Once you take an overdose of cannabis or ingest it, you are in for a treat. It all depends on the amount of THC you consumed, your tolerance, and your previous experience with the psychoactive substance.

When smoking cannabis, the effects can be felt sooner rather than eating it, which can then cause a quicker onset of the infamous greening out.

Once it happens, the length varies as the regular high on cannabis does. So you will be in a minor problem anywhere from a few minutes to several hours. Greening out does not require medical care, as symptoms should disperse independently.

However, if weed is not the only thing you have taken, and you start feeling the symptoms of greening out, then medical attention is of utmost importance.

lady smoking- green out by cannalyft

How Long does Greening out Usually Last?

The duration of greening out can vary depending on several factors, including: 

  • The amount of THC consumed 
  • The mode of consumption 
  • Individual factors like metabolism and tolerance levels

 In general, greening out will last for the duration of the cannabis high.

Those who consume high amounts of THC, especially via edibles, may experience longer-lasting effects that can last up to 24 hours.

The method of consumption can also impact how quickly the effects kick in and how long they last. 

For example, Dabbing can produce an instant high that lasts for 1 to 3 hours, while smoking or vaping can take 2 to 10 minutes to take effect and last for 1 to 3 hours but may linger for up to 8 hours

If you experience severe or prolonged symptoms of greening out, seek medical attention immediately.

How To Help Someone Greening Out? 

To prevent greening out and the unpleasant high, on the whole, you should know your limits. Greening out will likely happen to first-time users who don’t care about the adverse effects. Those who experience consuming cannabis will easily sense the tolerance threshold and stop when they start feeling they have had enough. 

On the other side, those who didn’t cross paths with weed before can begin with a lower dose and increase the dosage after a waiting period of an hour. Until the effects are settled in.

If you feel like you have had enough from one or two puffs and are already high, don’t try anything crazy and continue to smoke more. Instead, keep away from the joint and don’t let peer pressure affect you negatively.

Prevention is the best cure, and to prevent the greening out before you even start consuming cannabis, eat and drink plenty of water before smoking. If you take cannabis on an empty stomach, it will have the same effect as drinking alcohol. Quicker resorption of THC if there are no nutrients present in your system.

Other than this, you should be aware of the dose of THC you are taking in, whether through smoking or different edibles, such as THC-rich brownies. All can lead to an unpleasant high and further greening out.

Is Greening Out Lethal?

Consuming too much marijuana can sound a few alarms, but there is no circumstantial evidence of death following a marijuana-induced high.

It won’t cause any long-lasting issues, though people with untreated heart problems can develop over-sedation, which further suppresses breathing if cannabis is combined with sedatives and sleeping pills. 

Another condition that can appear after taking too much cannabis is cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome (CHS), which causes extreme vomiting, nausea, and pains in the chest and abdomen. It is a relatively rare condition but can happen following long-term and heavy cannabis use.

Final Thoughts

It is essential to know your boundaries and never succumb to peer pressure. If you are just a bit over the bar, it can lead to several problems.

Though none of them will harm you like heavy drugs, you should stop when you start experiencing the first symptoms. However, if the greening out does happen, you have plenty of options to diminish the symptoms.

Once you are out of the greening-out phase, it is essential not to stress your body further, which means avoiding taking weed for at least three days. In addition, full-body detox is advisable after the greening out as it will help recover the body.

Greening out infographic by cannalyft

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