It’s no secret that cannabis has become a hot topic in recent years, with many countries and states legalizing its use for both medicinal and recreational purposes. As a result, a new generation of cannabis consumers is emerging, eager to explore the myriad of benefits this plant has to offer. However, with increased use comes the possibility of experiencing adverse effects, one of which is known as “greening out.”
This article delves deep into the world of greening out, exploring its causes, symptoms, prevention, and management techniques. Buckle up for an enlightening and captivating journey into the lesser-known side of cannabis consumption.
Definition and Background
What Does Greening Out Mean?
Greening out is a term used to describe the temporary and uncomfortable physical and psychological effects that can occur after consuming too much cannabis. While it is not life-threatening, it can be a distressing and sometimes even scary experience. It is crucial to understand the causes and symptoms and how to manage this state to ensure responsible and enjoyable cannabis use.
The Science Behind Greening Out
Cannabis contains over 100 active compounds known as cannabinoids, the two most prominent of which are delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). THC is responsible for the psychoactive effects of cannabis, while CBD is believed to have various health benefits without the “high.”
Greening out occurs when the user ingests a large amount of THC, overwhelming the endocannabinoid system (ECS) in the body. The ECS is a complex cell-signaling system responsible for regulating various physiological processes, such as mood, appetite, and pain. When THC binds to the cannabinoid receptors in the ECS, it can cause an array of physical and psychological effects, some of which may be unpleasant when experienced in excess.
- Nausea and Vomiting: One of the most common physical symptoms of greening out is nausea, which may progress to vomiting in some cases.
- Dizziness and Fainting: A sudden drop in blood pressure and increased heart rate can cause dizziness, lightheadedness, and even fainting in extreme cases.
- Sweating: As the body tries to regulate its temperature, excessive sweating may occur.
- Dry Mouth: Greening out can lead to a dry mouth or cottonmouth, which can make it difficult to swallow or speak.
- Anxiety and Panic Attacks: The most common psychological symptom of greening out is anxiety, which can escalate into full-blown panic attacks in some individuals.
- Paranoia: Some users may become overly suspicious or feel like they’re being watched or followed.
- Disorientation: Greening out can cause confusion and disorientation, making it challenging to focus or comprehend one’s surroundings.
- Hallucinations: In rare cases, greening out may lead to auditory or visual hallucinations, which can be quite unsettling.
Causes of Greening Out
- Tolerance: A lower tolerance to THC can make an individual more susceptible to greening out. Tolerance is influenced by factors such as genetics, frequency of use, and body composition.
- Sensitivity: Some people are naturally more sensitive to the effects of THC, making them more prone to greening out.
- Metabolism: An individual’s metabolism can affect how quickly their body processes THC, contributing to the likelihood of greening out.
Consuming large amounts of THC increases the risk of greening out. It’s essential to start with a low dose and gradually increase it, especially for inexperienced users.
Method of Consumption
Different methods of cannabis consumption can affect the onset, intensity, and duration of the high. Smoking or vaping cannabis typically produces a faster onset, while edibles can take longer to kick in and have a more potent and lasting effect, increasing the risk of greening out.
Cannabis strains vary in their THC and CBD content. Those with high THC and low CBD levels are more likely to cause greening out.
An unfamiliar or uncomfortable environment can heighten anxiety and contribute to greening out.
Being in the company of strangers or people who make you feel uneasy can exacerbate the psychological symptoms of greening out.
Mixing with Other Substances
Consuming cannabis alongside alcohol, prescription medications, or other recreational drugs can lead to unpredictable and intensified effects, increasing the risk of greening out.
Prevention and Management
Preventing Greening Out
- Know Your Limits: Understand your tolerance and sensitivity to cannabis, and consume accordingly. Start with a low dose and gradually increase as you become more comfortable with its effects.
- Choose Your Strain Wisely: Opt for strains with a balanced THC and CBD ratio, as CBD can help counteract some of THC’s adverse effects.
- Consume Responsibly: Avoid mixing cannabis with other substances and be mindful of your method of consumption. Take your time, especially with edibles, as their effects can take longer to manifest.
- Create a Comfortable Environment: Consume cannabis in a familiar, comfortable setting and with people you trust.
Managing Greening Out
- Stay Calm: Remind yourself that greening out is temporary and not life-threatening. Take slow, deep breaths to help alleviate anxiety.
- Hydrate: Drinking water can help with dry mouth and counteract feelings of dizziness and nausea. Avoid alcohol and caffeine, as they can worsen the symptoms.
- Rest: Lie down or find a comfortable place to sit. Close your eyes and focus on your breathing to help manage anxiety and disorientation.
- Seek Support: Let someone you trust know what you’re experiencing. They can provide reassurance, and comfort, and help monitor your symptoms.
- Distract Yourself: Listening to calming music, watching a lighthearted movie, or engaging in a simple activity can help distract you from the symptoms of greening out.
Greening out is an unpleasant but temporary side effect of consuming too much cannabis. Understanding its causes, symptoms, and prevention methods is essential for responsible cannabis use. By knowing your limits, choosing the right strain, and consuming responsibly, you can significantly reduce the risk of greening out.
If you do find yourself in this situation, remember to stay calm, hydrate, rest, seek support, and distract yourself. With the growing popularity of cannabis, it’s crucial to promote awareness of greening out to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for all users.