Greening Out? How to Deal With Cannabis Over-consumption

For novice or beginner cannabis users, the likelihood of consuming too large of a dose and “greening out” is high. Cannabis users, regardless of how familiar they are with cannabis products, are still suggested to “start low and go slow.” Over-consumption of cannabis, no matter how seasoned the user may be, can still lead to adverse effects, increased impairment, and an overall negative experience.

The side effects and experience of consuming too much cannabis are colloquially known as “greening out.” While this outcome happens most frequently with cannabis edibles, it’s possible to “green out” from smoking and/or vaping cannabis, too.

If you want to learn how a “green out” happens, its symptoms, and the best practices to follow if or when it happens to you, here’s the Acreage Pharms guide to greening out. 

Please note that this information is obtained from government sources. The information below is not intended to act or replace medical advice and must not be used as such.

What is Greening Out? Greening Out Symptoms

greening out guide

Greening out is an expression used to describe the adverse symptoms and experience of consuming too much cannabis.

How well an individual mediates cannabis’s effects depends on their body’s physiology, their endocannabinoid system, and their cannabis tolerance. While it’s physically impossible to overdose on cannabis fatally, the symptoms of over-consumption or “cannabis poisoning” are unpleasant at best and daunting at worst.

Everyone’s experience and reaction to greening out will be different. Although there isn’t a definitive list of symptoms that greening out can cause, cannabis users will likely know when they are experiencing a cannabis overdose.

With that being said, green out symptoms can include:

  • chest pain;
  • rapid heartbeat;
  • nausea/vomiting;
  • psychotic episode;
  • respiratory depression;
  • paranoia;
  • severe anxiety and/or panic attack ;
  • increased heart rate;
  • increase in blood pressure levels.

The likelihood of experiencing adverse side effects increases in proportion to the THC content of a particular product. Greening out is also more likely when consuming edibles vs smoking due to the slower onset of effects. Individuals might choose to drink or consume another edible dose before they start to feel the impact of the first one.

While consuming too much THC can cause you to feel sick, experience dizziness, and feel like vomiting, it’s important to note that cannabis poisoning is not generally known to be fatal.

Greening out can last for anywhere from half an hour to twelve hours, depending on how much THC is consumed and the individual’s cannabis tolerance.

With that being said, there are a few tips that individuals can keep in mind to help them overcome the unpleasant experience more easily and rapidly.

How to Deal with Greening Out – 5 Tips and Tricks

If you’ve consumed too much cannabis and feel like you’re on the cusp of greening out, here are a few things you can do to start feeling normal again. With that being said, if you’re experiencing particularly intense symptoms or feel incredibly nauseous or in distress, seek medical attention immediately.

Sleep it Off

If nausea from greening out proves to be too much, sleeping for a few hours could help you feel normal again. Depending on your consumption method, the unpleasant symptoms of over-consumption can last anywhere from half of an hour up to twelve. Sleeping or napping allows you to passively deal with the symptoms without feeling too nauseous or sick.

Stay Hydrated

green out

Cannabis consumption can result in an excessively dry mouth. Remembering to drink some water or any alcohol-free, non-caffeinated beverage will help take your mind off things by focusing your brain on completing one task while simultaneously keeping you hydrated.

Eat a Snack

Cannabis is known to stimulate appetite. Having a light snack while you’re greening out could alleviate some nausea and dizziness. Additionally, it’ll also take your mind off the experience and give you something different to focus on.

Don’t Panic

The combination of an increased heart rate, paranoia, and anxiety resulting from overconsumption can culminate in panic. If you’re feeling distressed, try finding a comfy place to relax, changing into more comfortable clothes, and taking deep, slow breaths.

Keep breathing and try to remember that the anxiety and paranoia you’re experiencing are just negative symptoms of THC and that the experience will eventually subside.

Try CBD

The differences when comparing THC vs CBD are immense, but having some while you’re experiencing a green out could help to limit or reduce the adverse symptoms of overdosing on THC.

How to Prevent a Green Out

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. While there’s not much that one can do to stop a green out while it’s happening, there are a few things you can do beforehand to ensure a positive experience.

Respect Dosing and Onset Times

Whether you’re smoking or eating an edible, dosing and onset times for all cannabis products, need to be respected.

While smoking provides the fastest onset times for any given dose of cannabis, the onset for the effects of edibles takes significantly longer, leading to an overdose if users are impatient. Starting with a low dose, waiting to feel the effects, and then gradually increasing your consumption amount is the best way to find your optimal dose and ensure a positive experience.

Respect Your Limits

No two individuals will have the same cannabis tolerance. What works for you might not work for somebody else.

If you’re an experienced user, you’ll have a better idea of how much to consume to feel the desired effects. Conversely, a person that’s new to marijuana will have difficulty finding the right amount of THC to consume.

As such, it’s never a good idea to peer pressure your friends or anybody else into ingesting more than they’re comfortable with.

Respect the Plant

Different varieties of marijuana will offer different levels of THC and cannabinoids. The differences between indica and sativa strains can also play a role in your smoking experience. Careful consideration of your marijuana product and its THC levels is recommended to avoid a negative experience.

Greening Out Isn’t Dangerous or Permanent

Greening out isn’t an optimal outcome, but it isn’t inherently dangerous or fatal. Greening out can happen to anybody for any variety of reasons. If it happens to you, keep in mind that the experience will eventually subside, and you’ll return to normal quickly.

So, the next time you start to feel anxious, nauseous, or uncomfortable with marijuana, consider trying some of the tips we’ve listed above. Everybody’s experience with marijuana will be different, so it’s essential to take the time and effort to understand how you and your body react to ensure the best possible experience.

Please note that this content on “greening out,” cannabis over-consumption, and how to deal with it is solely intended to act as entertainment and a general educative aid and is not intended to act as or substitute healthcare advice from a professional healthcare service or qualified healthcare provider. If you have any questions or concerns, please consult your physician or a qualified healthcare provider. 

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