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Greening Out with Cannabis – What to do if it happens to you or a friend.

cannabis greening out

Greening out can happen to anyone from longtime cannabis users to a first timer.  Greening out is essentially when you consume too much marijuana, usually within a short time period and your body and brain decide, enough!  People compare it to over dosing but in reality you are not in danger of actual physical harm, it’s more about knowing how to manage the symptoms.  Speaking of symptoms, they vary widely depending on how much cannabis you consumed and how you consumed it. General greening out symptoms include feeling dizzy, nauseous, elevated anxiety, and sweating.  In rare instances you could experience an elevated heart rate and even hallucinate.  We will explore the strategies for identifying when you or a friend is greening out and what to do.

The first issue is to consider how you consumed the cannabis.  If you smoked it or vaped, then the first sign you might be greening out is usually dizziness.  Even sitting down you will notice you are feeling a bit unsteady.  So assume you are already sitting down when you start to feel dizzy, go lower.  Lie down or sometimes just getting lower to the ground helps.  Obviously if you are standing, first try sitting and if that doesn’t work, keep getting lower.  If you have consumed a lot of marijuana and are in a couch lock, get up very slowly to see how you feel.

If you consumed edibles, the first sign you are greening out is often nausea.  If you actually ate a lot of food, it could be related to that but greening out nausea is different, it almost always comes with sweating.  If this happens, one of the best strategies, while you are heading to the nearest bathroom, grab something cool to put on the back of your neck.  It will do wonders to ease the nausea and help with the sweating as well.  Do not eat anything else and only small sips of plain water until you are feeling better.  If you do vomit that is fine but don’t force yourself, it really only makes things more stressful. Remember if you are experiencing serious nausea, lay on your side, never on your back.

No matter your methods of consuming cannabis, if you are greening out you are going to feel anxious, sometimes very anxious.  Know that it will pass and if you prefer to be alone let your friends know this and have them check on you in 30 minutes.  If you are already alone, text a friend and make sure they check in with you a bit later.  On the flip side, if you realize your friend is greening out, don’t be upset if they want to be alone, just let them relax in a quiet space and check on them or if they want company, sit next to them and speak in quiet tones.  Dealing with the anxiety that can come from greening out depends on how anxious you are feeling.  First you need to calm your breathing and the best way to do that is with “yoga breathing”.  Slow and with a steady rhythm, breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth.  Keep doing it, it takes some time for this to work.  Once you feel your anxiety levels lowering, find a distraction.  Sleep is a good one if you can do it, but watching videos or texting a friend also works.

The worst experiences of greening out can include an elevated heart rate and slow rhythmic breathing will help you a lot with this problem.  Hallucinations are rare but they do happen.  Understanding this is sometimes half the battle in dealing with hallucinations.  Reaching out to someone you trust is the best way to handle greening out in general but if you are alone, it will pass, usually within 30 minutes to an hour you will be either feeling much better or you will fall asleep.  Sometimes it takes longer but it will happen so do you best to stay calm and ride it out.  There is not much of a “hangover” from greening out from cannabis consumption however you may experience some memory loss.  Greening out can happen to even the most expert cannabis user but learn from the experience if it happens to you or a friend.  More is sometimes not better!