Much like having too many drinks on a Saturday night can cause you to blackout, if you consume too much weed, you will experience the equivalent — a green out.
And while it is impossible to overdose from consuming too much cannabis, we can assure you that greening out is not fun.
More often than not, when it comes to green out, it occurs with novice cannabis users who have yet to determine their tolerance level and ingest too much weed.
Whether it’s not feeling the effect of edibles kick in as quickly as you would like or smoking more than you can handle, when the weed or THC finally does kick in, it’s not typically the happy-go-lucky high that you were aiming for.
This also isn’t to say that greening out doesn’t happen to more seasoned tokers too.
Whatever the case, green out is a situation you should opt to avoid, which is where we come in.
In this article, we will break down what green out is, the symptoms, what to do if it happens, and how to prevent it in the future.
Let’s get into it!
What is a Green Out?
As we said before, the simplest way to explain what green out is that it is the equivalent of blacking out from drinking too much alcohol, except greening out happens from consuming too much cannabis.
It’s defined as a “temporary overdose,” where an individual will feel sick after eating, smoking, or vaping too much weed.
What happens is that THC and other cannabinoids within your favourite bud interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system, more specifically, the CB1 receptors in your brain.
The body then produces a fatty acid called anandamide that acts on these receptors to influence things like pain, memory, depression, and appetite (aka munchies).
However, if you ingest too much THC, the CB1 receptors become overwhelmed, ultimately making you feel sick.
Trust us. It is not a pleasant experience!
There is no one moment that is the tipping point for greening out as individual tolerance level plays a massive role in determining how much cannabis one specific person can handle.
This fact is why you may see a more experienced blazer take a ridiculously enormous bong rip and be unphased. Still, if someone else with a lower tolerance tried the same thing, they would be completely obliterated.
To piggyback off this, just as tolerance plays a role in when greening out may happen, it also contributes to the symptoms you experience when it happens, how intense they are, and how long they last.
While we may not be able to determine for sure when green out occurs, researchers into this phenomenon have been able to determine that drinking booze while also ingesting weed will increase your likelihood of greening out significantly.
So, our best advice would be to pick one and stick with it.
What are the Symptoms?
While pinpointing when exactly green out will happen is difficult, the ingestion method when consuming weed is a significant influence.
For example, edibles take longer to kick in, whereas smoking or using cannabis concentrates through a more direct ingestion method, such as using tinctures, which can result in greening out faster.
However, because edibles take longer to produce effects due to THC being metabolized into 11-Hydroxy-THC, they also stay in your bloodstream longer, meaning that the symptoms of green out could last longer.
Common symptoms of greening out include:
- Anxiety and paranoia
- Increased heart rate
- Difficulty breathing
How long someone may experience these symptoms will vary on factors such as tolerance and physical build. They could last anywhere from minutes to hours.
If all you’ve had is a weed, then these effects should go away on their own. However, if you’re consuming cannabis as well as alcohol, known as crossfading, you may want to ask your friends for help or contact a doctor if symptoms are severe.
While it may sound scary, you can seek some comfort in the fact that, while it’s overwhelming, no deaths have been reported from overdosing on weed.
How to Prevent a Green Out – 3 Tips
Like with any other substance, weed is an individual experience with specific effects on every person. Ultimately, it is very easy to avoid a green out by not smoking too much.
However, we get it. Sometimes you get carried away, or you’re inexperienced and have misjudged how much you can handle. It happens.
So, here are some helpful tips on better preventing yourself or someone else from greening out.
Avoid Ingesting Weed on an Empty Stomach
While many weed strains will inevitably cause the munchies, like drinking alcohol, consuming cannabis on an empty stomach will enhance its overall effects.
It’s best to eat something before embarking on your weed journey.
Eating food impacts your overall blood sugar levels. If you don’t eat enough, your blood sugar will be low, and you will likely feel side effects such as being dizzy, light-headed, or nauseous, similar to the symptoms of greening out.
So, if your blood sugar levels are already low from not eating before ingesting THC, you are more likely to green out.
Know Your Limit, Stay Within It
This tip is a tricky one, especially for novice tokers, but learning your tolerance level is the most effective way to avoid a green out.
This is why many blazers tend to stick to the tried and true method of starting low and going slow. This rule can be applied to any form of cannabis product, whether edibles, concentrates, or dry flower.
Don’t be annoyed if you don’t feel the effects right away, particularly when it comes to edibles. Some ingestion methods take longer than others to kick in. Just take your time and experiment with lower dosages before upping the ante.
Once you’ve pushed your limits and consumed more than you can handle, there’s no real option to take it back, which may result in green out.
We’ve touched on this a few times already, but we really can’t emphasize it enough.
While it may be tempting in social situations like a party to partake in mixing business with pleasure, or in this case, pleasure with even more pleasure, combining weed and booze will significantly increase your chances of greening out.
The reason the likelihood is increased is that alcohol increases your body’s absorption rate of THC, resulting in an effect known as “crossfading.”
In this sense, we highly recommend sticking with one vice to avoid overwhelming your body.
What to Do if You or Someone is Greening Out
While you can try to take all the necessary precautions to avoid it, green out can still happen.
It can be a truly unpleasant and scary experience. Being equipped with the knowledge of what to do can be crucial when you or someone you know is greening out.
Don’t worry. We’ve got you covered.
Focus on Your Breathing
Anxiety and paranoia are two of the most common symptoms of greening out.
Experiencing a panic attack is exactly what it sounds like. Your body has fallen into the primal fight or flight response and reacts physically to feeling threatened and panicked.
In instances like these, try to focus on your breathing and take long, concentrated breaths in and out.
It may help to close your eyes like you might when meditating and focus on the feeling of your rib cage, expanding and releasing with every long, concentrated breath. Try your best to block out any other distractions.
Taking large breaths will slow your heart rate to a more normal pace while relaxing the body and the mind.
Drink Water or Juice
As we mentioned before, having low blood sugar levels can influence your susceptibility to green out.
Drinking sugary juices could be what your body needs to balance out your blood sugar levels while also easing other green out symptoms such as nausea by putting something in your stomach.
We also advise drinking water to help rehydrate your body. It also gives you something else to focus on rather than feeling panicked.
Sleep it Off
Like with blacking out from drinking alcohol, sometimes all you can do is try to fall asleep.
When your body feels anxious and alert, it may seem challenging to try and relax and calm down, which is where focusing on your breathing comes back into play.
Find a safe, quiet and comfortable location to rest your head, close your eyes, and focus on your breathing. Your body will start to relax, and so will your mind, which will provide more desirable conditions to drift off into a peaceful slumber.
Green Out – It Won’t Last Forever
While it is a super unpleasant experience, it’s important to remember that it won’t last forever when it comes to green out.
The symptoms are temporary, and while it may feel as though there is no light at the end of the tunnel, we can assure you there is.
Of course, the best way to not green out is to prevent it from happening entirely.
Next time you smoke or eat weed, ensure that you have a snack before ingesting cannabis and stay hydrated.
Avoiding alcohol is another pro-tip to avoid crossfading and taking on more than your body can handle.
Ultimately, a key factor influencing your likelihood of greening out is knowing your tolerance, which takes time and experimentation. It’s best to start low and go slow to build up your tolerance rather than diving off the deep end.
You have plenty of time to enjoy all the righteous benefits that cannabis has to offer. There’s no need to rush.