Top Greening Out Symptoms

Understanding What ‘Greening Out’ Means

The term “greening out” is a colloquial way of talking about THC toxicity, or cannabis overdose. Greening out symptoms may include both physical and psychological side effects that range from mild to severe depending on the person and the circumstances.

Contrary to popular belief, a person can use too much marijuana, and when the type of cannabis product has high levels of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the effects are often stronger, as this chemical can be psychoactive. It can happen if you have:

  • Smoked marijuana
  • Dabbed
  • Smoked wax
  • Vaped marijuana
  • Consumed edibles

It is not a good feeling, and should not be taken lightly, as people who are greening out may find themselves behaving out of character. Those with blood pressure or heart issues, and those with a family history of psychiatric disorders should especially take caution.

Common Physical Symptoms of Greening Out

The most common physical greening out symptoms include:

  • Feeling dizzy, or experiencing vertigo-like symptoms
  • Getting “the spins,” feeling like the room is spinning even when they are lying down
  • Light-headedness
  • Impaired decision-making skills
  • Lowered blood pressure
  • Lowered blood sugar levels
  • Increased heart rate
  • Chills
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Slurred speech
  • Disorientation
  • Limbs feel heavy
  • Pale skin
  • An overall loss of coordination, with distorted perception and peripheral vision

Psychological and Emotional Signs of Greening Out

symptoms of greening out

Psychological and emotional greening out symptoms may include:

  • Experiencing higher levels of anxiety than normal
  • Feeling paranoid or confused
  • Inability to focus
  • Having a panic attack
  • Experiencing mild hallucinations

Unfortunately, the long-term effects of greening out are not known but are currently being studied by health experts.

How Greening Out Differs from Other Cannabis Experiences

Greening out is not fun. A person who is greening out will feel ill, dizzy, and anxious. This is not the usual type of “high” a person gets from using marijuana; it is an overdose, with very uncomfortable symptoms that can last up to 24 hours.

Factors That Can Increase the Risk of Greening Out

Greening out can cause a person to feel sick, lasting for a few minutes, but sometimes hours, or even all day. Some of the factors that will increase a person’s risk of greening out include:

  • Using cannabis with other substances like alcohol or prescription medications
  • Low body weight
  • The potency of what was consumed
  • Not drinking enough water before and during cannabis use
  • The person’s level of tolerance to marijuana products
  • How much of the cannabis was consumed by the person
  • How quickly the cannabis was consumed by the individual (whether use was spaced out throughout the day)
  • Whether they have other health conditions

To avoid greening out, be aware of the dosage of everything you are consuming, don’t use more than one THC or marijuana-based product at a time, and go slowly, especially with edible products. Never use drugs alone, and only use substances from a trusted source.

Immediate Steps to Take When Experiencing Greening Out

If you are experiencing greening out, there are a few steps you can take to lessen the severity of the symptoms. You can:

  • Drink water
  • Deep breathing and relaxation techniques
  • Lie down and rest
  • Engage in distracting activities
  • Avoid stimulants like coffee or cigarettes
  • Remember it will be over soon
  • Seek medical attention

You can also try smelling or chewing crushed black peppercorns or drinking lemon juice. The terpenes in these substances may help you feel a little bit better, by affecting the psychoactive “high” of THC and reducing the amount of anxiety and discomfort you are experiencing. These effects are purely anecdotal at this stage, but many people have found it to be helpful.

It is not advised to take more drugs, whether they are illicit narcotics or prescription medications, because there could be even more negative interactions that could cause serious health problems. Typically, greening out symptoms will end within 24 hours, so get through it as best you can.

If you have used marijuana with opioids, alcohol, stimulants, or other substances, if you are not sure whether your marijuana has been laced with something, or if you are still experiencing issues after 24 hours, hallucinating, slurring speech, cannot slow your racing heart, or if your issues feel severe, seek medical care. An overdose can be dangerous, and medical professionals will be able to help you manage psychological symptoms and reduce serious health risks.

When to Seek Help: Greening Out and Cannabis Use Disorder

Cannabis use is so common that many people believe it is not possible to become addicted, but the truth is that cannabis use disorder is on the rise, with many people unable to stop using marijuana, even when they want to quit.

Long-term cannabis use and addiction can lead to issues like:

  • Worsening mental health conditions
  • Lower IQ and difficulty learning
  • Impulse control issues
  • Memory loss
  • Lung health issues, including an increase in the likelihood of developing pneumonia or other respiratory infections
  • Higher risk of cardiovascular problems

Some signs you may have a cannabis use disorder include:

  • Spending a lot of time using cannabis
  • Craving marijuana or having trouble getting through the day without it
  • Using it in high-risk situations like while driving
  • Missing important activities because you want to smoke weed instead
  • Continuing to use marijuana even when it causes serious psychological, relationship, health, or work problems
  • Developing a tolerance
  • Being unable to stop, even when you want to

If these symptoms of addiction are something you are dealing with, it may be in your best interest to consider a substance use disorder treatment program. There are many types of detox and rehabilitation plans available to choose from, from luxury inpatient homes where you can stay and relax for a few weeks, to simple outpatient programs that are designed to fit into your daily routine, so you can get the help you need while continuing to work or go to school.

Support and Treatment Options at WhiteSands Treatment

WhiteSands Treatment Center is a highly supportive place you can count on if you would like to find support in stopping substance use of any kind, including cannabis use. Our team is friendly, professional, and caring, and we provide a high level of evidence-based care in customized treatment plans that will best suit each client.

We offer flexible lengths of stay, with a variety of levels of care available, depending on what you need as an individual. There is staff onsite 24 hours a day, and patients are treated as respected guests when not in treatment. We take a holistic approach to treatment, helping to cleanse the body, mind, and spirit, emphasizing family, community, and overall health. Addiction is a complex issue, and we combine psychological treatments with physical health care, holistic treatment approaches, educational programs, group therapy, and relapse prevention to give our patients the best possible chance of achieving long-term recovery.

There are WhiteSands inpatient locations in Tampa, Fort Myers, and Hyde Park, and fourteen different outpatient facilities located throughout the state. To find out more about what WhiteSands has to offer, you can contact our team at any of these locations, and we will help you choose the best program for your needs. For general information, call us at 1-239-256-2812. 

If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.

About the Author

Jackie has been involved in the substance abuse and addiction treatment sector for over five years and this is something that she is truly eager about. She has a passion for writing and continuously works to create informative pieces that not only educate and inform the public about the disease of addiction but also provide solutions for those who struggle with drug and alcohol abuse.