What Is ‘Greening Out’?
Last Updated Dec 2, 2021
“Greening out” occurs when an individual engages in overuse of marijuana, which causes them to get sick. Essentially, greening out occurs when someone overdoses on cannabis.
Despite marijuana being utilized for cannabinoid-based therapy, there are still dangers involved with using marijuana recreationally, especially those who engage in overuse. Mixing marijuana with alcohol and other drugs (also referred to as crossfading) can also lead to greening out.
Signs & Symptoms of Greening Out
Those who experience greening out exhibit certain symptoms of sickness. Other tell-tale signs of greening out include the following:
- Pale skin
When an individual experiences a green out, they will often become disoriented, leading to stress, anxiety, and panic. In more extreme cases, greening out can also cause an individual to experience hallucinations.
What Causes Greening Out?
Greening out can be caused by ingesting high amounts of marijuana flower or THC-infused products, such as edibles, lozenges, and oils (which are usually sublingual).
Individuals who use THC vape cartridges can experience greening out. Using cannabis concentrates like shatter, wax, oil, and butter can also lead to greening out, as these products are generally far more potent than actual cannabis flower.
Greening out can happen when using THC and CBD products, even though CBD does not contain any psychoactive agents. Sativa, indica, and hybrid strains can all cause greening out when overused.
Risks of Marijuana Overdose
An individual’s tolerance directly relates to their risk of greening out. If an individual does not use marijuana often and engages in heavy ingestion, the likelihood of greening out will increase significantly.
Method of Ingestion
The method used for ingesting marijuana can affect whether a person experiences greening out. For instance, smoking a joint will cause a different effect than using a water pipe or bong. Water pipes and bongs will generally produce higher amounts of smoke that are ingested directly, which can set the tone for greening out.
Cannabis dabbing is another method of ingesting marijuana that has grown in popularity as cannabis products have become legal. Dabbing involves the use of butane hash oil (BHO), a form of concentrate that is ingested through a water pipe, glass pipe, oil pipe, and vaporizer.
Dabbing results in a much more potent high than smoking marijuana. It can potentially cause greening out, passing out, and respiratory issues.
Greening out can occur when an individual consumes too many cannabis edibles. This happens quite frequently considering the fact that edibles take longer for effects to set in when compared to other methods of use.
A person might take an edible and notice that they haven’t felt the effects they seek, so they will consume more edibles until the desired effect is produced. Although the body takes longer to absorb the THC in edibles, taking too many can result in a snowball effect.
Greening out occurs much more frequently with individuals taking edibles than those who utilize smoking as the primary method of marijuana ingestion.
What to Do if You Green Out
Marijuana intoxication treatment involves management of symptoms. Age and size of the individual as well as the amount of cannabis ingested also affect treatment.
Even when cannabis consumption causes psychotic episodes and disorders, detoxification generally occurs within 24 hours after consumption. However, some individuals may experience symptoms that last longer than 24 hours.
If you experience a green out it is best to focus on taking deep breaths. Drink a large glass of water and lie down to avoid trauma or injury.
If you are not feeling dizzy, taking a shower can provide relaxation and an opportunity for the body to cool down. Eating a healthy meal can also alleviate green out effects.
When in doubt, remind yourself that an individual cannot take a fatal dose of cannabis. If symptoms persist for more than 24 hours or intense symptoms occur, seek medical attention.
If you are in doubt about whether you need medical assistance, err on the side of caution, and get help.
How to Help Someone
Providing support to someone who experiences a green out is less complicated than other overdose events.
Make sure the person is comfortable and has plenty of fluids. If you can give them a snack, this can often help to reduce nausea.
Providing companionship and conversation will often help the individual stop focusing on their green out. Don’t leave the individual alone.
Green Out Prevention
The best way to prevent greening out is to use cannabis products judiciously. Do not consume too much.
Know that it takes a while to feel the effects of edible products, so don’t stack doses.
Signs You Have a Problem With Marijuana
Marijuana abuse and addiction are possible. Signs that a person may have cannabis use disorder include overconsumption, using cannabis products frequently throughout the day, combining cannabis products with other drugs and medication, and engaging in drug-seeking behavior.
Other symptoms of marijuana use disorder include social withdrawal, disengagement, disinterest in other things, frequent drowsiness or sleepiness, and an increased tolerance to cannabis and other marijuana products.
Getting Help for Marijuana Addiction
Abusing marijuana and other cannabis products can affect cognition and negatively impact many areas of an individual’s lifestyle, just like with just about any other type of drug addiction.
Treatment options for marijuana addiction may include an initial detoxification period combined with either inpatient or outpatient rehabilitation services.
Inpatient treatment isn’t common for marijuana addiction, but it may be recommended if the person is dealing with a long-term or severe addiction. It may also be advised in dual diagnosis cases, such as co-occurring substance use disorders or mental health conditions.
Support groups often provide vital assistance for those dealing with marijuana addiction. Some people may begin their recovery in support group meetings, like 12-step meetings, whereas others use them as an important source of aftercare after more intensive treatment is completed.
Different forms of therapy are available for the treatment of marijuana addiction, including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and acceptance and commitment therapy. Many individuals who suffer from marijuana addiction also benefit from family therapy and group therapy.
Talk to your treatment providers about the right approaches for your specific situation. For the best results, addiction treatment should be tailored to the needs of the individual, and it should change as the person grows and progresses in recovery.
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