Skip to Main Content

Greening Out: 7+ Crucial Findings About Overdosing on Weed

Updated 17 October 2023
Greening Out Thumbnail
Cannabis Use Disorder

What Is Greening Out?

What Does Greening Out Mean?

Greening out happens when a person consumes or smokes too much cannabis or marijuana, essentially a “cannabis overdose.” When a person greens out, they can experience physical and psychological symptoms such as dizziness, nausea and vomiting, paleness, loss of mobility, anxiety or paranoia, disorientation, panic attacks, memory loss, and hallucinations.

Greening Out Graphics_01 What is Greening Out Inline Image

It is important to note that certain cannabis products are most commonly used to get high, while others are more commonly used for medical purposes.

The cannabis products used to get high typically contain the chemical delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, otherwise known as THC.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) explains this is “The main psychoactive (mind-altering) chemical in marijuana, responsible for most of the intoxicating effects that people seek…”

The other product most commonly derived from the cannabis plant is cannabidiol, also known as CBD.

CBD is typically used for medical purposes, and while it contains low dosages of THC, it does not have the same effects. The products produced from this chemical are often used for symptom management of chronic illness or chronic pain.

In this article, we will most commonly refer to cannabis products containing high levels of THC.

Greening Out Graphics_02 THC vs CBD Inline Image

What Is a Cannabis Green Out?

A cannabis green out is when someone feels sick or ill after smoking or consuming cannabis products with high levels of THC.

 

What Is the Term for Greening Out?

Greening out is also called “cannabis overdose,” in which the person gets “too high.”

 

How Long Does Greening Out Usually Last?

Symptoms of greening out can last for a few minutes, hours, or even sometimes all day. Generally speaking, symptoms often go away after 24 hours.

The duration of symptoms will depend on the person’s hydration levels, tolerance, amount consumed, and how quickly it was consumed.

Greening Out Graphics_03 Greening Out Symptoms Duration Inline Image

What Does Greening Out Feel Like?

When a person greens out, they may start to feel ill. They can experience symptoms such as dizziness, light-headedness, anxiety, increased heart rate, nausea, vomiting, or loss of coordination.

A person may experience what some people call “the spins,” which is a mixture of vertigo and nausea that can make a person feel that their head is spinning, even if they are lying down.

 

What Does Start Greening Mean?

When a person starts greening, they experience the physical and psychological effects of too much cannabis in their system.

 

What Causes Greening Out?

Greening out can be caused by consuming too much cannabis product or marijuana or by mixing them with other substances, such as alcohol.

 

What Are the Signs of Greening?

Common signs of greening out can include:

  • Pale skin
  • Slurred speech
  • Dry mouth
  • Paranoia
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of coordination
  • Dizziness
  • Light-headedness
  • High eyes
  • Panic attack
Greening Out Graphics_04 Timeline of Greening Out Symptoms Inline Image

Greening Out Symptoms

What Are the Symptoms of Greening Out?

Common symptoms of greening out include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Light-headedness
  • Disorientation
  • Loss of coordination
  • Confusion
  • Feeling of heaviness in the limbs
  • Mild hallucinations
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Increased heart rate
  • Lowered blood pressure

 

How Can You Tell If You’re Greened Out?

If you have been smoking weed, consuming edibles, “dabbing,” smoking wax, or vaping marijuana and start to experience any of these symptoms, you may be greened out.

The most common side effects are dizziness, nausea, anxiety, and increased heart rate.

Greening Out Graphics_05 Common Ways People Consume Marijuana Inline Image

What Are the Benefits of Greening?

Greening can cause very uncomfortable symptoms and can put you in dangerous situations. Greening out on purpose is not recommended, as it can lead to life-threatening situations for some.

 

How Long Does It Take to Sober Up After Greening Out?

The time it takes to sober up after greening out can be different for everyone. Factors such as:

  • Body weight
  • Hydration levels
  • Tolerance to Weed
  • Potency of what they smoked
  • Other health conditions

It will impact how long it will take to get the substances out of your system. Typically, symptoms will reside within 24 hours or less.

 

Can You Throw Up From Greening Out?

Many people who are greening out can experience nausea and may throw up from the overconsumption of marijuana.

Long-time users can develop a condition called cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome (CHS). StatPearls explains that CHS “is a condition in which a patient experiences cyclical nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain after using cannabis.”

Vomiting can quickly cause dehydration, becoming dangerous if not treated properly.

Greening Out Graphics_06 Throwing Up from Greening Out Inline Image

Greening Out After Effects

Can Greening Out Last For Days?

Greening out symptoms typically subside within 24 hours of consumption; however, the duration of the symptoms will depend on how much cannabis product is consumed, how quickly it is consumed, and how it enters the bloodstream.

 

What Are the Long-Term Effects of Greening Out?

The long-term effects of consuming cannabis products will depend on the potency, amount, rate, and consistency it is consumed. Everyone reacts to substances differently, especially if other health conditions or substances are present.

The common long-term side effects of greening out are still being discovered; however, it is known that having a marijuana addiction (also known as marijuana use disorder) may lead to:

  • Memory loss
  • Learning impairments
  • Difficulty regulating impulse control
  • Lower IQ
  • Exacerbated negative mental health symptoms or conditions
  • Compromised lung health (most common with smoking or vaping)
  • Increased likelihood of respiratory infections, such as pneumonia (most common with smoking or vaping)
  • Higher risk of cardiovascular complications, like heart attack
Clint Alcohol Thumbnail Image
Is Marijuana Addictive?

What Are the Potential Side Effects of Greening Out?

  • Increased heart rate
  • Dizziness or light-headedness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Decreased blood sugar
  • Inability to focus
  • Disorientation
  • Chills
  • Sweating
  • Blurred vision

 

Is Greening Out Dangerous?

Greening out can become dangerous, especially if it is combined with other substances or medical conditions.

Greening Out Graphics_07 Dangerous Greening Out Combinations Inline Image

Is Greening Out Overdosing?

Yes, greening out is another term for THC toxicity or overdose.

How to Stop Greening Out

How to Avoid Greening Out?

Greening out can be avoided in a few different ways. The first is to avoid cannabis or marijuana-related substances altogether.

Marijuana detox programs can be very helpful in finding a healthy sobriety from weed.

If the substances are going to be used, it’s important to be aware of the purity, dosage, potency, and way the substance is administered.

For example, it’s important to keep in mind that the effects of edibles are often more delayed than if the substance is smoked. Smoking generally produces side effects almost immediately, whereas it may take a few hours to notice the effects of edibles.

Keeping track of how much and how quickly cannabis products are being taken is the key to keeping yourself safe.

Greening Out Graphics_08 Tip to Avoid Greening Out Inline Image

What Are Some Methods of Preventing Greening Out?

  • Don’t do it alone
    Establish a safe space and have a safe friend nearby to help if something goes wrong. This is not an excuse to pressure others into getting high with you; it’s just an important safeguard to ensure you’re being as safe as possible.
  • Only use substances from trusted sources
    This will reduce the risk of the cannabis product being laced with other substances. Additionally, it will be easier to be aware of the potency and its effects if it comes from a familiar source.
  • Start slow
    Don’t consume more than you’re used to, especially if it’s your first time. Greening out often happens because cannabis users are eager to get high. Consuming small amounts is best to see how the cannabis will affect you before adding more.
Background Image
Mental Health Quiz CTA Banner

Take our quiz to see if you or a loved one needs substance use or mental health support.

Developed by Chief Clinical Officer Sarah Fletcher, LPC

What To Do When Greening Out?

One of the most helpful things when greening out is to stay calm and safe. The more calm you are, the easier it’ll be to listen to your body.

Additionally, if you are greening out, you should:

  • Drink water
  • Lie down and rest as much as possible
  • Take deep breaths
  • Smell crushed black peppercorn, which is thought to have terpenes properties that may reduce some of the uncomfortable symptoms
  • Seek out medical attention

If you think you’re greening out, you may think that adding more cannabis will help to level out the side effects. In reality, it will most likely continue the greening out cycle. It’s best not to add any additional substances to your body during this time.

Adding substances, including over-the-counter, prescribed, or illicit medications, could cause negative interactions that may result in irreversible damage to your body. The best thing to do is try to rest and contact medical professionals if you’re concerned.

 

Should You Go to the Hospital After Greening Out?

The greening-out experience will be different for everyone. For some, it may not be life-threatening, and symptoms will dissipate after a few hours of quality rest and hydration.

Greening Out Graphics_09 Get Rid of Moderate Green Out Inline Image

Others may have more extreme symptoms of greening out, like vomiting, increased heart rate, decreased blood pressure, hallucinations, or extreme paranoia. These symptoms are more likely to occur if cannabis products have been mixed with other substances.

If cannabis is mixed with other dangerous substances, such as alcohol, opioids, or stimulants, the results can quickly become life-threatening.

If you are concerned about yourself or someone else’s safety and well-being, seeking medical attention or contacting emergency services is never a bad idea. Trained providers will know how to handle the symptoms and prevent other, more dangerous issues from arising.

It can sometimes be hard to understand what your body tells you, especially since cannabis significantly heightens the senses and can cause extreme paranoia. If you think something may be wrong, don’t be afraid to seek medical attention or go to the hospital.

 

How Long Does It Take to Sober Up After Greening Out?

Most symptoms of greening out resolve within 24 hours. However, the time it takes to become sober after greening out will vary for each person.

The intensity and duration of symptoms may be dependent on:

  • Hydration levels
  • Tolerance
  • Amount consumed
  • How quickly it was consumed
  • If any other substances were consumed
  • Co-occurring disorders or other health conditions
Marijuana Mental Illness Thumbnail
Marijuana and Mental Illness

How Do You Help Someone Greening Out?

If you are trying to help someone who is greening out, the best thing to do is to try to keep them calm.

This may be difficult since some of the most common side effects of greening out are anxiety, paranoia, and panic attacks. However, the calmer they can be, the easier it is for them to get through greening out.

Resting is also an important action to take while greening out. This may seem counterintuitive, as for some people, getting high leads to agitation and heightened senses.

It’s important to keep the heart rate as steady as possible since high levels of THC can cause increased heart rate. This significantly increases the chance of heart attack and other dangerous cardiovascular problems.

Greening Out Graphics_10 Lower your Heart Rate During Green Out Inline Image

Staying hydrated is another important aspect of getting through greening out. This is especially important if the person has been nauseous or vomiting.

Dehydration can quickly occur, especially with persistent vomiting. If you are helping someone who becomes violently ill following cannabis use, contact emergency services immediately.

If you’re unsure how to help someone greening out, don’t hesitate to contact emergency services. There may be many other factors you’re unaware of that could have irreversible consequences for the person greening out.

The best thing you can do is seek medical attention to ensure everyone’s safety.

FAQ

You Have Questions, We Have Answers.

Our goal is to provide the most helpful information. Please reach out to us if you have any additional questions. We are here to help in any way we can.

The damage that greening out can have on the brain is still being investigated. However, NIDA explains, “Substantial evidence from animal research and a growing number of studies in humans indicate that marijuana exposure during development can cause long-term or possibly permanent adverse changes in the brain.”

Furthermore, some research shows that adolescents who regularly use high doses of cannabis may experience long-term learning impairments, memory problems, and impulse control.

NIDA states that there have not been any reported deaths from marijuana use alone. However, death can occur if mixed with other substances, especially if they are used improperly or overdosed.

Combining substances, like nicotine, alcohol, opioids, and stimulant drugs, can cause the chemicals to interact and intensify symptoms.

This can become very dangerous very quickly, especially since there are not many regulations to control the potency or purity of cannabis. As a result, the user may not know that they are consuming additional substances.

If cannabis products are laced with any other substance, such as:

Symptoms can quickly become life-threatening.

Consistently using substances harmful to your body can lead to other permanent health issues that may eventually lead to death.

Green out is a term that refers to a cannabis overdose.

Mixing marijuana and alcohol can be dangerous because they can intensify each other’s symptoms in negative ways.

Alcohol can increase the absorption of THC, which can result in getting higher faster. This often leads to greening out more quickly than using cannabis use alone.

Additionally, marijuana can reduce the effects of feeling “tipsy” from alcohol. While this may seem like a positive side effect, it can become dangerous because it is much more difficult to tell when you’ve had too much to drink.

Marijuana can also make it difficult to vomit, the body’s natural response to too much alcohol. Not being able to vomit after drinking too much could lead to alcohol poisoning, which needs to be treated by medical professionals immediately.

You may lose track of how much you’ve had to drink, making it harder to track how much cannabis you consume.

Mixing the two substances can lead to quicker greening out, dependence on both substances and dangerous substance interactions.

In Alcoholism, Clinical and Experimental Research, researchers found that people who use both marijuana and alcohol are more likely to use the substances at the same time. “Simultaneous use was also the most detrimental: compared to alcohol only, simultaneous use approximately doubled the odds of drunk driving, social consequences, and harms to self.”

The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) confirms, “Using cannabis and alcohol together enhances the effects of each, causing increased side effects such as:

  • Slowed reaction time
  • Loss of coordination and problem-solving skills
  • Impaired decision-making skills
  • Distorted perception and peripheral vision

While both alcohol and marijuana are becoming more common to use in social situations, using the two substances together should be avoided.

Background Image
Young black man standing in front of a blue background.

Let’s Take the Next Steps Together

At Sandstone Care, we understand the challenges of overcoming excessive marijuana use. Sandstone Care is here to support teens and young adults with mental health and substance use disorders. If you’re ready to heal from your substance use, reach out to us by calling (888) 850-1890

Greening Out Infographic

Greening Out Infographic