Green Out: The Comprehensive Survival Guide
26 Aug 2020
What is a green out?
Many of us have been there or have seen others going there.
We are, of course, talking about the all-too-common mistake that many cannabis smokers, both young and old, make all-too-often: smoking too much weed. For veterans of the ganja, this might sound like an oxymoron. Too much weed? Is such a thing even possible?
It is, and chances are, you probably suffered 1 or 2 green outs before in your earlier smoking career, no matter how far in the recesses of your memory you might try to hide that experience in, nobody ever forgets their first green out.
The symptoms of a green out aren’t pretty, and they often involve an overall feeling of “this is not good, man” paired with an inexplicable desire to lie down and oftentimes, an impending sense of doom and anxiety.
Sounds like a bad time? That’s because it is, but not to worry – we’re here today to walk you through the ins-and-outs of this weed phenomenon and show you how to come out on top!
How Does a Green Out Happen?
In layman’s terms, you can green out when you consume too much THC.
What is “too much” is unfortunately not an easy question to answer. It may be only a few puffs for a novice, while it could be like up to half a gram of shatter, or 100’s of mg of THC in an edible, for a full-time stoner.
The topic described above can be classified as tolerance. It is your ability to tolerate cannabis consumption, both in terms of your physiology and your state of mind. We should note that tolerance changes over time.
With continued use of cannabis, tolerance will go up. When this becomes a problem, it may be time for a tolerance break (or T-break). Just make sure that when you do smoke again, start with a much smaller amount. If not, you may find out firsthand how quickly tolerance can change.
Tolerance can also change from day-to-day depending on you. How much did you sleep, what did you eat, how stressed are you? All of these factors and so many more combine to influence where your tolerance level rests.
Over the long-term, factors like your mental health can also play a large role. If you have an anxiety problem that is getting worse, it may take less and less cannabis to produce a panic attack. The same could be said about digestive issues.
What is a Green Out?
To green out means consuming too much weed. Usually, it looks like someone is sleeping on a couch during a party.
As opposed to alcohol poisoning, greening out is less dangerous, but highly distressing nonetheless. While feeling lethargic, dizzy and sleepy are the most common outcomes, there are other possible side effects.
Some of the general side effects of green out include:
- Changes in appetite
- Reduce reaction speed and psychomotor skills
- Impaired memory
- Chest pain
- Rapid heartbeat
- Anxiety or Panic Attacks
In terms of what is going on inside our bodies during a green-out, there is little evidence to answer this question.
Frankly, science does not quite understand what is going on in these situations yet (other than the symptoms which can be seen and measured).
How to Stop It
The best thing you can do is to prevent greening out in the first place. A bit of prevention will go much further than any other corrective remedy.
Always start with a lower amount of cannabis. Take your time, over days, and weeks increasing your tolerance to make sure you can handle the increased dosage.
The same goes for when you try out other delivery methods of types of cannabis.
For example, if you always smoke but then switch to edibles, expect to have a much lower tolerance. When we change the form of cannabis, we can increase the impacts, so always reduce the amount consumed the first few times trying something new.
Let’s take a quick moment to focus on edibles some more. As these infused products can take an hour or two to take effect, they are a frequent source of overconsumption.
While you may want to feel high and are inpatient while waiting for effects, don’t double dose. Doing this will only set yourself up for a stormy night. If you want to get high now, go with smoking or vaping.
DO NOT double dose edibles until the effects have fully taken hold, and you are sure you want more. Better yet, just don’t double dose unless you’ve consumed a greater amount of edibles before and done so safely.
Now, to stop a green out after it starts. Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do to speed up the recovery from your green out directly. Frankly, all you need to do is wait it out. That said, you can make the experience as pleasant as possible.
First, drink lots of water and eat a bit of food if you can.
Second, get somewhere comfortable and quiet, with people you trust.
Third, take a nap or just go to sleep if you are able.
Finally, stay as positive as possible, remember that cannabis cannot kill you and that this suffering will pass.
Those tips may sound good and fine, but you may be wanting more. In that case, we got you covered. Here are some additional tips based on anecdotal reports.
First, try taking a shower and use either hot or cold water, depending on what feels better.
Second, take a sniff of black pepper, which we all have at home and is known to contain the terpene beta-caryophyllene.
You can also try taking a CBD to buffer the effects of THC. Basically, what CBD does is it restores disruption caused by THC and reduces THC’s psychoactive effects known as highs.
CBD is also known to provide relief to symptoms of a green out such as anxiety, dizziness and paranoia.
That said, having CBD tinctures or capsules near-by will help you later to combat green out and ease symptoms linked to this unpleasant experience.
Finally, try getting some fresh air and even take a walk if it is safe to do so.
If you have combined cannabis with other drugs or alcohol, then the effects may be more serious. In these situations, you should stick with a trusted friend or family member.
Depending on the substance and the amount consumed, consider calling poison control or even calling 9-1-1. A cannabis green out is unlikely to have severe or lasting effects, but an overdose of other drugs and alcohol has more potential severe effects.
How to Survive a Green Out
While greening out may be an unpleasant and scary experience, you can always take measures and precautions to make sure it never happens.
Always start with a small amount of cannabis, especially when it comes to edibles, since they may take longer to kick in and take your time to build your tolerance to avoid experiencing green out.
If it still happens, make sure to drink plenty of water, take a nap and try some CBD to ease the symptoms. CBD is proven to alleviate pain, anxiety and help you to overcome a green out more comfortably .