Understanding What ‘Greening Out’ Means

The man smoke cigarette near the building. evening night time

Greening out” occurs when an individual smokes an excessive amount of cannabis, leading to various unpleasant symptoms such as dizziness, nausea, and anxiety

A green-out episode can happen when you exceed your tolerance level for cannabis consumption, causing temporary symptoms that can be highly uncomfortable.

If you or someone you know is experiencing a green-out episode, you must stay hydrated, rest, and wait for the effects to subside.

This article explores what greening out means. 

It includes various treatments that can help you cut down or abstain from using cannabis so that you can move toward a substance-free life without the adverse effects of marijuana holding you back.

How we can help

Tikvah Lake Recovery specializes in diagnosing and treating marijuana addiction and other types of drug and alcohol dependency.

Our specialized team at our luxurious inpatient treatment facility in Florida is dedicated to helping you overcome cannabis addiction using a comprehensive and personalized approach to your recovery. 

Our facility features state-of-the-art amenities that can help you rejuvenate and recover, providing a comfortable and supportive environment for lasting healing.

The Tikvah Lake team comprises experienced professionals, including addiction counselors, therapists, and medical staff, who work collaboratively to create personalized treatment plans to suit your unique needs, goals and preferences. 

We blend various evidence-based treatments such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), luxury mental health treatment, and detox management programs, among many others, to ensure you get the most out of your recovery.

Our integrated approach to marijuana addiction recovery addresses not only your addictive symptoms but also any underlying factors, such as trauma or other mental health conditions, that may contribute to or worsen your substance use.

Contact our friendly team in Florida today and begin your journey to recovery with a skilled and compassionate team committed to guiding you toward a life free from marijuana addiction.

Understanding what ‘’greening out’’ means

The term “greening out” is often used to explain the effects of excessive cannabis use, particularly when an individual has consumed or smoked more marijuana than they can handle. 

Greening out produces similar effects to excessive alcohol consumption, but the term applies specifically to the overconsumption of marijuana.

A “greening out” episode occurs when feelings of sickness or anxiety are triggered after you smoke or ingest cannabis.

This phenomenon often happens when an individual has consumed an excessive amount of marijuana or weed beyond their body’s tolerance or capacity, similar to an overdose of cannabis. 

Greening out can occur regardless of how you consume marijuana, including smoking or ingesting edibles.

Greening out symptoms 

Tired woman having anxiety attack

Greening-out symptoms are different for everyone.

However, the typical symptoms associated with a greening out episode include the following:

  • Nausea: this can consist of the urge to vomit, or you may feel highly nauseous
  • Vomiting: many people throw up or experience vomiting while greening out
  • Anxiety: you may feel anxious, paranoid or on edge
  • Sweating: many people experience intense sweating in response to smoking or ingesting cannabis

Additional symptoms of a green out episode may include the following:

  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Paranoia
  • Increased heart rate
  • Hallucinations
  • Respiratory difficulties
  • Anxiety or panic attacks

Greening-out episodes are usually temporary, and individuals who experience them tend to feel much better after the effects of marijuana wear off.

It is not a dangerous or life-threatening condition, but it can be profoundly uncomfortable and upsetting for the individual experiencing these cannabis-induced episodes.

If you or a loved one is experiencing severe symptoms of green out or you are in distress, seeking medical attention is highly advisable.

In most cases, the effects of greening out will subside as your body has ample time to process the marijuana effectively, and you should start to feel better with time.

However, it would be wise to contact a medical or mental health professional if you are concerned or do not return to your usual self after ingesting cannabis.

How long does a greening out episode last?

Studies show that greening-out episodes can last a few minutes to a few hours. The duration of a greening-out episode depends on various factors, including:

  • The presence of other substances in your body
  • The volume of marijuana or weed you have consumed
  • Your tolerance levels

Is greening out the same as overdosing?

The term overdose generally implies a dangerous or life-threatening level of a substance that can result in severe health consequences, such as intoxication or death.

Lethal overdoses of cannabis are extremely rare, and there is a much broader scope of safety when it comes to the consumption of marijuana.

While consuming too much cannabis can cause unpleasant symptoms, including nausea and anxiety, it is not considered lethal or life-threatening.

According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, no one has died because of consuming too much THC, a crystalline compound that is the main active ingredient of cannabis.

man lying on the ground with hand on his chest

However, users must exercise extreme caution, particularly when consuming large amounts of weed or cannabis, as it can cause various health complications, including:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue 
  • Red, dry eyes
  • Damage to the lungs for those who smoke cannabis. This is because smoke from cannabis contains similar irritants and toxins as tobacco smoke

Are there any long-term health implications of greening out?

Researchers found that those who experience regular green out episodes are at higher risk of cognitive impairment.

For example, individuals who green out regularly may experience memory loss or forgetfulness. 

Experts say that the risk of cognitive impairment due to long-term greening-out episodes is higher among adolescents because their brains are still developing.

What about the health complications associated with long-term marijuana use?

More research must be done to fully understand the long-term health implications of cannabis use.

However, researchers note some health conditions that may be associated with long-term marijuana use, particularly among those who smoke cannabis regularly.

These conditions include the following:

  • Anxiety disorders – Studies have found that prolonged THC consumption may increase an individual’s risk of developing an anxiety disorder. For instance, frequent cannabis use may potentially worsen an existing mental health condition, such as anxiety or cause someone to develop the condition.
  • Addiction and dependence – While many can smoke cannabis without becoming dependent on the substance, it can be highly addictive for some people, leading to marijuana addiction and withdrawal. When someone develops a marijuana use disorder, they may continue to use the substance despite the adverse effects it may have on their health and life.

As well as the above effects, other research shows that long-term marijuana use can have a detrimental impact on your brain and body function, including:

  • Poorer school grades
  • Slower response time when playing sports or driving
  • Reduced IQ 
  • Relationship difficulties
  • Depression

How to help someone who may be greening out

If you happen to be around someone experiencing a greening-out episode, the most important thing to do is remain calm.

This may be easier said than done.

However, reassuring a friend or fellow smoker that all will be okay and that these unpleasant feelings and sensations will soon pass can be helpful.

You may also find the below strategies useful when supporting someone through a greening-out episode:

  • Avoid using further cannabis (in any form), as it will likely make the person feel much worse
  • Encourage your friend or family member to drink water, as this will reduce any dryness in the throat, helping them to stay hydrated
  • Encourage the individual to take slow, deep breaths to help alleviate anxiety or racing thoughts
  • Keep talking to the person. This can help keep them engaged, which may stop them from focusing on any unpleasant symptoms and sensations they may be having

Marijuana addiction treatment

High angle view of mental health professional talking to participants of group therapy at community center.

There are many effective treatments for marijuana addiction, which often involve a combination of behavioral therapies, group support, and individual counseling. 

A holistic approach to marijuana addiction recovery is often the most effective and includes various treatments and methodologies to help you recover.

They include:

  • Support groups – group therapy or support groups give you a sense of belonging and community with those who understand your challenges and struggles with addiction. Support groups can be profoundly beneficial, particularly when used as part of a holistic treatment program.
  • Individual therapy – involves working with a therapist or counselor on a one-to-one basis to address any underlying issues or trauma that may cause or worsen your cannabis addiction. You will also learn coping strategies to help you manage your symptoms, including urges or cravings to use marijuana.

Other effective treatments for marijuana addiction include:

Marijuana addiction treatment at Tikvah Lake Recovery

Tikvah Lake Recovery provides a comprehensive, personalized marijuana addiction treatment program to clients in Florida and surrounding regions.

Your recovery is our priority, so let us help support you. Take the first step to marijuana addiction recovery, and contact us today to speak to one of our addiction treatment specialists. 

You are not alone. Help and support are available, and recovery is possible with proper care, support and treatment.

We are here and ready to help.

Additional resources

  1. What is ‘Greening Out’? Plus, Some Common Greening Out Symptoms, Green Health Docs, Dr Anand Dugar, September 5, 2023
  2. Marijuana Overdose Statistics, Facts and Prevalence, Tikvah Lake Recovery, Adam Nesenoff, December 8, 2023

About Adam Nesenoff

Adam Nesenoff has been working in recovery for over ten years.

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