Smoking weed is supposed to be fun, right? So why does it sometimes turn into an unpleasant and even scary experience? Well, that experience is called greening out, and it happens when you consume too much weed.
What is Greening Out?
Greening out is just getting too high from cannabis. Smoking weed is usually a great way to mellow out or boost your mood, but it’s certainly possible to overdo it.
Greening Out Symptoms
So, we know what the ideal results of smoking weed are, but what happens to you when you green out?
When you smoke weed, one of the receptors in your brain that reacts to it is the amygdala. The amygdala is the part of your brain in charge of fear so, when weed has too strong of an effect, you can have a fear response to situations that you normally wouldn’t.
A common effect of smoking too much weed is some degree of lightheadedness. This is because some strains are designed to make you feel mellow… and too much mellow can translate to being dizzy.
Too much mellow can also translate to feeling severely tired. This is only unpleasant if you need to stay awake, but many people take advantage of this effect and use weed to help them go to sleep.
Cottonmouth is another common effect of weed, but it can be hard to endure when it gets too intense. If you don’t have any water on hand you’ll really be suffering.
Nausea or Vomiting
One of the most unpleasant effects of smoking too much weed is nausea and sometimes even vomiting. This is more likely to happen when you take too many edibles because your body wants to get them out, but it can happen anytime you green out.
Returning to the amygdala, it can be affected so intensely that you go past anxiety and hit paranoia. At this point, you may start experiencing scary thoughts like that the cops are about to show up or even that the people around you are trying to hurt you.
Rapid Heart Rate
Weed doesn’t just affect your brain; it affects your whole body, including your cardiovascular system. This is why smoking too much weed can get your heart racing.
Avoiding Greening Out
We know how terrible greening out can be, so how do we prevent it?
Enjoy Cannabis with Others
It can be beneficial to consume cannabis with trusted friends. They might be able to keep you from smoking too much; though, only you can honestly know your limits. If you do green out with your friends, they can help you stay grounded and help you with whatever you might need to feel better.
Explore Products with Lower THC Levels
You can avoid greening out by starting small and trying out products that have less THC. The typical cannabis you’ll consume contains Delta-9 THC, so you might try some Delta-8 products and see if you find those easier to take. If you’re shopping for regular marijuana products, cannabis flower will have a lower THC percentage than concentrates and concentrate products. You could even ask your budtender for products with 10% THC or less.
Respect Your Limit
It’s really important not to consume too much weed, but how much weed is too much? Tolerance is based on many different things like frequency of use and BMI, so remember that everyone is different; don’t feel like you should smoke more just because your friends are. Remember, we consume cannabis to enjoy ourselves, and greening out kind of defeats that purpose. With that in mind, make sure to take it very slow when you’re still learning your limits. Again, we recommend trying products with lower THC content, starting in small quantities, and only consuming more weed every hour or so if you feel the need.
Use Caution with Edibles
Edibles have a high concentration of THC, so they’re very potent. This means they can hit you way too hard if you aren’t careful. With edibles, it is even more important to take a very low dose initially. Remember that edibles take a while to kick in, so don’t jump the gun and take more before you’ve given your last dose a chance. We recommend using this kind of caution anytime you try a new brand, as some can hit harder than others.
How to Stop Greening Out
If you do feel like you’re greening out, you don’t need to panic. There are some things you can do to bring yourself back down to earth.
Hop in the Shower
Getting under some running water can relax your body and give your mind something else to focus on. You can take a hot shower to unwind, or you can take a cold shower to shock your system back into the present moment.
This one is essential. Consuming too much cannabis can be severely dehydrating to your body, so drinking water can help with some of the physical effects of greening out.
Switch Up Your Environment
This can help significantly with anxiety and paranoia. Get out of whatever environment may be freaking you out and take a walk in a safe area or lie down in a place that feels more secure.
Interestingly enough, CBD can combat the adverse effects of THC; CBD can keep the THC from being metabolized as much. In addition, CBD works wonders for soothing anxiety, even anxiety that’s caused by too much THC.
Talk to a Friend
Talking to someone about how you’re feeling can help you check the facts and see what is a real concern and what is just a result of THC-induced anxiety. Sometimes it helps to be reminded by another person that you took a lot of cannabis and that the things you’re feeling are a completely normal result. Or, at the very least, the conversation can distract you from what you’re feeling.
Can Too Much THC Be Dangerous?
One of the most common side effects of too much THC is mental health issues. As we highlighted throughout the article, too much THC can cause severe anxiety and even paranoia. If you have a history of severe mental health issues, there’s a chance that too much THC could exacerbate them. This is the same with heart problems; if you have a history of heart troubles, you may need to worry about a large dose of THC increasing your heartbeat to a dangerous rate. In addition, too much THC can also decrease your blood pressure, so watch out for that. A less dire concern is dehydration. You will probably feel the urge to aid the discomfort from this side effect before it has any real consequences. Just make sure you have water easily accessible.
Greening out can be scary, but there are ways to prevent it and things you can do if it does happen. The most important thing to remember is to respect your limits when consuming cannabis; don’t take more than you know you can handle! But, if you do, take measures to bring yourself back down and remember that the feeling won’t last forever.