What is greening out?
Greening out is the common name for the symptoms that come from consuming too much THC. When the body cannot handle all of the THC, symptoms of a “bad high” surface. These include anxiety, paranoia, headache, nausea, body aches, inability to focus thoughts, hallucinations, and an overwhelming sense of dread that may feel like you are dying.
What causes greening out?
Though you won’t die from too much marijuana, you may experience uncomfortable–even frightening–symptoms from too much THC in your body. The legendary “bad high” or debilitating paranoia reported by some are usually the result of too much THC. The body, in trying to cope with the “weed overdose” can go through different symptoms that leave you feeling anxious, paranoid, or like you are dying. You are technically safe in this state, it just doesn’t feel like it when you’re in the middle of the experience. What makes things worse is that focusing on the symptoms can make them seem worse. Perception of time and sensory stimulation can become exaggerated, and people report finding it difficult to know what is really happening. This alone can be frightening.
Who is more at risk of greening out?
People with pre-existing anxiety disorders, significant mental illness, a tendency towards hypochondria, and those with a high sensitivity to THC are more likely to have the greening out experience. Greening out is also more likely with sativa strains, or sativa-dominant hybrids, than with indicas because they tend to have higher THC and lower CBD content. People who were upset or in a frightened state of mind before ingesting weed are also more likely to have a bad trip than those starting off feeling strong.
10 ways to stop greening out
Move your body
Moving your body, or getting gentle exercise in some way, can help to redirect your attention, increase blood flow, and release stress-reducing chemicals into the body. A lot of times when greening out, people feel anxious or fearful. By walking, stretching, doing yoga, or dancing you can help to lessen the negative symptoms. It also increases your metabolism, helping to clear the THC from your body faster. Connecting with your body has the added benefit of getting you out of your head where racing thoughts or paranoia might be causing discomfort.
Meditation has many benefits, including calming your mind. The slow breathing will help to decrease anxiety, and focus your thoughts. It is also easier to do nothing sometimes, so if you are struggling with the inability to follow a train of thinking, just stay still and focus on breathing out longer than you are breathing in.
Chew black peppercorns
This may seem like the strangest suggestion, but many seasoned potheads swear by chewing a couple of black peppercorns, and some science has backed this up as well. It may not be the tastiest snack, but you should start to feel better soon.
Eating fruit can help to lessen the effects of greening out in a few different ways. The juicy, flavorful nature of fruit can help to distract you and bring pleasure to your body. It also introduces fruit sugars and flavonoids into your system, changing your body chemistry. Eating food, in general, can help to dilute the impact of too much THC. This is especially true if you have consumed medicated edibles.
Being dehydrated can make the symptoms of greening out worse. It is also easy to forget to drink water when feeling overwhelmed by the effects of too much THC. Many report that drinking their water or juice cold helps them to come back down to Earth.
It may seem strange advice to sing to decrease the effects of greening out, but singing is a complex process for the brain that most of us are pretty familiar with. Singing lets your brain focus on something other than its physical and emotional experience. It also has been proven to elevate mood and lower blood pressure. Sing something simple that you know well, like a children’s song, or even makeup nonsense words as you go. The act of singing will also help to slow and regulate your breathing.
Take pure CBD
CBD has been shown to counteract the negative effects of THC in the body. You can subdue anxiety and stress, and quiet physical pain including nausea. If you are going to use CBD for this purpose, make sure it is pure CBD without any THC. Whether you buy weed online or in person, make sure you have some pure CBD on hand just in case.
Changing locations, even just changing rooms, can offer a perspective shift. If the objects in the room are freaking you out, leave that room. Move slowly, try different positions like laying on the floor, getting into a bed, sitting in a different chair. The mind and body are on super alert while you’re greening out, so a small adjustment can make a big difference
If you are struggling with paranoia and anxiety, Massage can release soothing endorphins. Either receiving massage from someone else, or simply rubbing your own feet, legs, and arms can do the trick. Massage also has the added benefit of helping you to focus your mind and bring your energy back into your body and less swirling around in your head. If you are doing self massage, apply pressure in slow and smooth motions, like your hands are in slow-mo.
Talk it out
Sometimes you just need to let it out. If you’re with a friend, talk to them about your experience. Try to find the humor in it. If you’re alone, try using your phone’s voice recorder to stand in for human company. Instead of trying to hold it all in — letting your thoughts and fears whip themselves into a storm of paranoia and anxiety — just let them out and let them go.
How to prevent greening out
People are much more likely to green out on edibles than when they smoke their marijuana. That’s because many edibles have inconsistent amounts of THC per dose. This is especially true for homemade edibles. Additionally, the body extracts much more THC from marijuana that is eaten than marijuana that is smoked or vaporized. This means you get more high off the same amount of weed when you eat it. If using THC distillate experiment with lower than normal doses until you are certain of your body’s response. If you’re consuming sativas or hybrid weed with a lot of sativa starting slow is also a good idea. Not consuming too much THC is the best way to prevent greening out before it happens.