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Greened Out: What is Greening Out with Cannabis

woman holding up cannabis leaves

What is Greening Out?

Greening out is the experience of suffering adverse symptoms after consuming a large amount of cannabis. In this article, we take a look at greening out symptoms, why it happens, and ways to get relief from it.

Greening Out Symptoms and Causes

A lot of people don’t realize this but it actually is possible to consume too much marijuana. Indeed, that is what it means to “green out”. Your body comes into contact with more THC than it is prepared for, and unpleasant side effects follow. It doesn’t mean your life is at risk, it just means that the receptors responsible for processing THC have become overwhelmed.  

Symptoms can include anything from nausea, paranoia, chills, anxiety, or a lack of mobility.

It is worth pointing out that some people will never feel greened out—or at least aren’t likely to experience any of the condition’s more disruptive symptoms. Because greening out is as much about the makeup of your own body as it is the content of your cannabis, it is possible for some people to be genetically predisposed against a “THC overdose”.

What Does Greening Out Feel Like?

Above we talked about some symptoms but what do these feel like once they begin to take hold of your body? Naturally, everyone experiences greening out differently and a number of variables including your tolerance, your physical makeup, and the potency of the cannabis itself will all contribute to how you experience the condition.

However, one can broadly describe being greened out as a condition of great unease and unwellness. The physical symptoms such as nausea or an accelerated heart rate can be unpleasant. The biggest battle often happens in the mind as you experience your body works to process an excess of THC.

Many people describe the experience of greening out as one of great mental and emotional distress. Even though no one has ever experienced a fatal consequence from cannabis use (at least not from consuming too much of it), it can often feel like something very wrong is happening to your body.

The anxiety can cause minutes to stretch into hours, leaving you with a very bad memory, and (hopefully) a renewed enthusiasm for more mindful THC consumption.

Readers should note that, while greening out is not dangerous in and of itself, the situation may be more serious if you are experiencing these symptoms after combining THC with other drugs.

Preventing Yourself from Green Out

Preventive considerations can go a long way towards reducing or even eliminating the risk of greening out. It’s all about being sensible. Below, we describe five ways that you can prevent yourself from greening out.

Start Slow

It’s not uncommon for cannabis rookies to put themselves in this position simply because they don’t know what their body can take. If you are new to the world of cannabis it’s a good idea to approach the herb with respectful caution. Start slow and see how it suits you. You won’t hurt anything from trying a puff or two and then backing off to see what it feels like.

Mind the Strain

Of course, the type of strain that you use will also have an enormous impact on your experience. In fact, smokers should worry less about how much cannabis they smoke, and more about the potency. Moderate cannabis can have a THC level of 12-15% while top-shelf cannabis can easily surpass 25%. In other words, it’s not at all hard to consume a lot more THC than you realize if you aren’t being careful.

Quantity Still Counts

THC levels may be more important than quantity, but the amount of cannabis you consume will, of course, still make a difference. It’s actually quite easy to misjudge how much cannabis you are using, especially if you use an array of different smoking apparatus.

For example, one bowl from a bong might be significantly larger than one bowl from a pipe (or vice versa). Even joints can vary in capacity based on the size of the rolling paper and how they are prepared. For consistency, you can always measure your smokes out using a small scale. Where that is not possible, devices like a one-hitter, which are designed to facilitate smaller smokes can also be of use.

When You Smoke Can Make a Difference

Being mindful of when you smoke may also have a degree of influence on how your body responds. For example, it’s often speculated (though scientific proof is lacking) that people experience cannabis at a greater degree of potency in the morning. Even if this isn’t true, the wake and bake lifestyle may not be for some people if it means starting your smokes in the morning and continuing throughout the day. As THC accumulates, you will increase your chances of greening out.

Mind the Method

Last but not least, be careful of your method. While there is not an enormous difference between smoking a joint or using a pipe, some methods can have an enormous influence on your overall experience. Most notably, dabbing is known for introducing an enormous amount of THC into your system very quickly.

How to Get Relief After Greening Out

Once you begin to green out, the best thing you can do for yourself is to focus on self-care. It is very easy to amplify the effects of the symptoms by getting yourself worked up.

When you notice yourself greening out, find a quiet spot to sit and do your best to moderate your thoughts and breathing. Your brain will be in a state of distress, and therefore prone to summoning thoughts of a very panicked nature. You can reject these feelings by simply focusing on the facts of the situation. You smoked too much cannabis. You are at no physical risk. Right now, you do not feel good. Soon, you will feel better.

Simply describing the situation to yourself for what it is without the editorialized commentary of your panicked mind can help some of the anxiety go away. From that point on, just focus on making yourself comfortable. The situation will end before too long.

5 Ways to Help You Stop Being High

Only time will completely diminish the effects of THC on your body. However, there are some tips and tricks you can implement to help mediate the situation the next time you find yourself a little too high.

1. Stay Calm

Not to beat a dead horse, but yes. Staying calm is definitely the first and best thing you can do for yourself. Panic drives more panic, so moderate your breathing and try your best to relax.

2. Snacks and Water

Snacks and water can help your body flush out the stuff that’s giving you trouble. Hydrating can also give you a feeling of calm and clarity if you haven’t had enough water recently. Try to avoid caffeine or alcohol, as these substances can enhance the feelings of anxiety that you are experiencing.

3. Exercise

If you are experiencing anxiety from too much weed, it’s very possible that you will want to get up and move. Let it happen. Taking a walk can distract from your adverse symptoms, and help you calm down.

4. Sleep it Off

When possible, sleeping off your smoke will be a great way to combat the condition. Chances are, if you can get a good nap in you will feel much better by the time you wake up.

5. Black Pepper

This is a weird one, but people swear by it. Even Neil Young is an advocate. If you smoke too much, it may be possible to reverse some of the effects by chewing on black pepper. While science doesn’t completely confirm this advice, there is some evidence to back it up. It’s feasible that the terpenes in black pepper can have a sedative impact on the side effects of cannabis. Hey, it’s worth giving a shot. 

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