Greening out, also known as ‘whiting out,’ is when a person feels nauseas, sick, and extremely anxious after consuming too much cannabis.
The experience can be quite frightening and can literally make people feel like they want to die. There have not been any reported deaths from taking too much cannabis, however the effects of greening out could last up to two or more hours, which can feel like a long time when in that situation. It is also worth noting that for those with other medical conditions, such as a heart condition, greening out can be dangerous and potentially lead on to other more serious issues.
Whilst it is important to understand your limits, there may be occasions where you will feel like you have had too much cannabis. In this post we will look at how greening out affects you and how you can ease any symptoms.
*Please remember if you are at all concerned about yourself or a friend who is experiencing greening out, then do not hesitate to call an ambulance and get the correct medical help.
What are the symptoms of greening out?
If a person has consumed too much cannabis, effectively a ‘cannabis overdose,’ then they may experience a variety of symptoms, including:
- face may turn pale (greenish or white)
- high anxiety
- low blood pressure
- increased heart rate
- feeling heavy or not being able to move
- sweats and chills
- sometimes people may get hallucinations
Symptoms of greening out can vary in each individual and it largely comes down to how tolerant you are to cannabis and how much you have used it in the past. Someone who is just smoking weed for the first time will feel the effects much more quickly and stronger than someone who is a regular smoker.
Symptoms can vary from 30 minutes to several hours depending on the person. If you have also been drinking or taking other drugs, then the symptoms may be worse, and it is advised to seek medical attention if you are worried.
Why do people green out?
When you smoke or consume cannabis, the THC (psychoactive compound) in cannabis will interact with the CB1 receptors in your brain.
The THC in the weed you smoke can also attach itself to cannabinoid receptors, such as anandamide, which is a fatty acid neurotransmitter. This will send signals to your brain and nervous system, and will affect things such as memory, concentration, coordination, thinking, pain, appetite, perception of time and pleasure.
These CB1 receptors will be on overload if too much THC is consumed, and that effects how people will feel and causes nausea and other symptoms.
How to ease symptoms of greening out
If it is too late and you or a friend is experiencing greening out, then try and stay as calm as possible and remember to always call for medical help if you are worried about the situation.
If you are with a friend, tell them what is happening to you, so they can hopefully provide some reassurance. You may want to go to a quiet and safe place to lie down. Some deep and slow breathing can help with any anxiety you may be feeling.
Make sure to drink plenty of water and take something sugary or eat something to help with potentially low blood pressure. A fruit juice or water with spoonful of sugar may help. Then it is really just about waiting it out and trying to stay as calm as possible. Prevention is always better.
There is also some evidence to suggest that certain terpenes can help ease the effects of greening out. These are what give cannabis, as well as other plants their taste and smell. Limonene, found in lemon, and Beta-caryophyllene, found in black peppercorn are believed to help ease anxiety. Try sucking on a bit of lemon or peppercorn balls to help with symptoms.
How to prevent greening out
The best thing you can do to avoid greening out is start with a low dose of cannabis, whether that be just one or two edibles or a single puff on a joint. For those who have never tried cannabis before, that may be all they need to feel the full effects.
Know your tolerance levels and be aware of your limits, even if others are wanting you to take more, always do what is best for you and your body as we all experience things differently. If consuming cannabis edibles, remember it may take some time to feel the effects, so stop and wait for an hour or so, to see if the dose is right for you, before taking more.
The more you use cannabis, the more likely you are to know your limits and experience the nice kinda high. Always avoid taking with alcohol and other drugs as this is more likely to result in greening out, especially for those new to cannabis or with a low tolerance.
If you are going to take cannabis then it will always be safer to do so with a group of good friends, then by yourself. If there is someone there that is not taking cannabis and can keep an eye out, then even better.
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