Ready To Start Your Recovery? Have Insurance?Call Now (877) 267-3646

Cannabis Side Effects: What You Need to Know About Greening Out

You are here:
Home Addiction Cannabis Side Effects: What You Need to Know About Greening Out

Greening OutMost marijuana advocates claim that cannabis is a safe, non-addictive method of getting high. However, people who have had negative reactions to the substance claim differently.  People who experience the cannabis side effect known as greening out often change their minds about using cannabis. 

Although greening out is not always a lethal condition, it can be a traumatic experience.  If you or someone you know consumes cannabis, here are some things you need to know about the dangers of greening out.

What Does “Greening Out” Mean?

Cannabis contains a compound known as THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) which is the primary psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.  Inhaling marijuana allows THC to pass from the lungs into the bloodstream.  It affects receptors in the brain that influence memory, pleasure, concentration, coordinated movement, and sensory and time perception.  

THC can sometimes overwhelm the body’s response to it leading to an unpleasant experience known as greening out which is another term for THC toxicity or overdose.

The symptoms of greening out may include, but are not limited to:

  • Sweating or chills
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion, disorientation
  • Lightheadedness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Anxiety, panic attacks
  • Inability to focus
  • Hallucinations
  • Paranoia
  • Rapid heart rate

Generally, the causes of greening out are due to several factors.  For instance, the purity and potency of  cannabis is one of the primary causes.  However, the method of consumption, the person’s tolerance, and the dosage may also play a role. 

How to Know if You’re Close to Greening Out

Greening out may be an early warning sign of cannabis addiction.  People who consume edibles are at risk for greening out due to delayed effects which cause them to overindulge.  Furthermore, individuals who take prescription medications are at increased risk of greening out when using marijuana.  

Although greening out is not fatal, it can be a frightening event.  The best way to avoid the experience is to control the amount of cannabis consumed.  Try to keep track of how much and how often you take cannabis products.  

You can also take other steps to keep yourself safe while using cannabis such as:

  • Don’t do it alone.  Have someone nearby to help if you have a greening out episode.
  • Use trusted sources for your cannabis to ensure it’s not laced with other substances.
  • Don’t use more than you’re used to. Start with small amounts to see how it will affect you.

It may be necessary to seek professional help if you are still having difficulty controlling your cannabis use.

What to Do During a Greening-Out Episode

Greening out can be traumatic, but it’s crucial that you remain calm.  Of course, it’s hard to be calm when you’re feeling anxious, panicky, and paranoid.  But, remember that the effects are usually temporary.  Ask someone to stay with you until the side effects subside.  Drinking plenty of water will help rehydrate your body and minimize the effects.  Also, take deep breaths, and lie down if you can.  

Some people believe consuming more cannabis reduces the effects of greening out.  In reality, it increases the chance of overdosing.  Also, don’t take any over-the-counter or prescription medications to address the episode as they can cause negative interactions.  Typically, greening out episodes dissipate after a few hours.

You should also know that greening out can be serious if cannabis has been mixed with other substances.  The signs of an extreme episode include increased heart rate, decreased blood pressure, hallucinations, or paranoia.  If there is an additional substance present, such as opioids, stimulants, or alcohol, the results can be life-threatening.  If you’re unsure about what to do, don’t hesitate to seek medical attention.

Quit Cannabis Abuse or Addiction With Help from Design for Change

If you use cannabis and are concerned about experiencing a greening out episode, we can help.  Design for Change Recovery provides treatment for cannabis addiction.  

Our full continuum of care combines holistic approaches, evidence-based therapies, and personalized treatment plans.  With this comprehensive approach, we help you understand and address the root cause of substance use and develop effective relapse prevention techniques.

Our programs include different levels of treatment to meet your specific needs.  We provide outpatient, intensive outpatient, residential, intensive inpatient, and partial hospitalization programs.  No matter which level of care you require, we make sure your program includes a range of treatment options to address the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects of addiction for whole-person healing.  

Design for Change is a fully licensed and JCAHO-accredited program.  This means we consistently meet the highest levels of client safety and care.  We are in-network with many major insurance companies to help you get affordable, superior-quality addiction treatment.  

The best thing you can do for your mental and physical well-being is to stop using cannabis.  Contact our Lancaster, CA facility today to begin your cannabis-free, healthier lifestyle.


Sources: – Drug Fact Sheet: Marijuana/Cannabis – Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)

Cannabis Side Effects: What You Need to Know About Greening Out