What Is Greening Out? How to Avoid a Bad High

You’re probably familiar with the saying “blackout drunk” when someone gets far too inebriated on alcohol. Blacking out is not recommended and can be a scary experience for anyone! As you may have suspected, there is a version of this when it comes to weed, aptly named greening Fortunately, it’s nothing like blacking out on alcohol, but it can still be unpleasant. So, what is greening out? Let’s take a look at how to recognize the signs and how to avoid it from happening to you. 

What Is Greening Out?

Greening out happens when you consume entirely too much weed. Unlike an alcohol blackout, you don’t exactly just go blotto and forget everything while generally staying awake. That’s scary territory. THC is generally a safe substance, but in large doses, it can feel pretty awful. After all, it is a psychoactive compound that has some very potent effects far beyond getting really high. 

No one intentionally greens out, although you might intentionally attempt to get very stoned on weed. This is usually when the scales tip in the wrong direction, and all of a sudden, you aren’t feeling so well at all. It can happen when smoking and vaping in excess, but most people experience greening out taking dabs or eating more before waiting for the edibles to kick in.

Common Side Effects of Greening Out

How can you tell if you or someone you know is greening out? It will become obvious pretty quickly, but here are some key signs to watch out for. 

Nausea & Dizziness

The key signs that someone is greening out are intense feelings of nausea and dizziness. It’s not uncommon to actually vomit in response to these feelings. This is typically when anxiety sets in and the heart rate increases. To the person who is greening out, this can feel like your heart is trying to jump out of your chest, further contributing to paranoia and anxiety. 

Physical Confusion

The combination of an elevated heart rate, plus your body attempting to neutralize the THC, can lead to breathing heavily. This exacerbates the anxiety, but you aren’t actually struggling for air. You may also lose coordination or even have difficulty speaking clearly. You can also expect to have a hellacious case of cottonmouth. 


In extreme cases, one might even hallucinate. In this state, the person greening out is generally motionless and in a state similar to sleep paralysis. 

Extreme Drowsiness

It can be hard even to keep your eyes open when greening out. Yet, you might not be able to fall asleep due to feelings of panic or racing thoughts. 

Mental Disturbances

Mentally and psychologically, greening out can get weird. This is where you might get stuck in circular thinking or start to feel a sense of doom. All of these side effects can create a terrible state for the person greening out and might lead to a panic attack. The large amounts of THC flooding the brain 

Why Do Some People Get Higher Than Others?

There isn’t a specific dose or amount of THC that causes greening out because everyone processes cannabis differently. It really just comes to your personal body chemistry and genetics. Everyone has an endocannabinoid system that responds to cannabis uniquely. A 2017 study even points to a gene that might make the CB1 receptors more responsive. These are the receptors that THC locks into.

Another factor to consider is state of mind. If you go into a cannabis experience expecting to have a good time and enjoy yourself, the chances of that happening increase. You’re more easily able to go with the flow. In contrast, if you chomp an edible and immediately worry that you are about to get way too high, you might experience anxiety early on that will only increase as the THC circulates throughout your system. 

How to Avoid Greening Out

Greening out is not a good time, and we don’t recommend it. To avoid this happening to you, stick to these guidelines. 

Lower Your Dosage

The most important thing you can do to avoid becoming a THC zombie is to lower your dosage. It’s not cool to see how much you can consume just for the sake of it. Slow it down, and decrease your edibles dosage. If you greened out on 25mg of edibles, go with 5mg next time and see if that’s enough. If not, try 10mg on your next attempt. 

Change Your Consumption Method

You might just find that edibles aren’t for you. That’s okay. There are plenty of ways to enjoy weed. For some people, dabbing just isn’t the right option. Even in small amounts, the heavy concentration of terpenes and cannabinoids can simply overwhelm the system, and then bam, you’re greening out. 

Eat First

Sometimes you just need a belly full of food before getting high. This is often helpful for many people with a quick metabolism. If the THC is being broken alongside other foods, it may delay the absorption and reduce the overall effects. For anyone sensitive to weed edibles, this is solid advice to prevent greening out.

Mix THC With CBD

Stoner tip of the day: CBD can reduce the psychoactive effects of THC. So, any time you feel that anxiety creeping in after a bit too much THC, pop some CBD. A tincture is a fast-acting option that may provide more immediate relief, but CBD joints, dabs, capsules, or edibles will all do the trick. Just make sure that it’s actually high CBD and not a 1:1 because that won’t help your situation. 

How to Help a Friend When They’re Greened Out

One thing is for sure when it comes to greening out—it sucks. It can be hard to mitigate once it happens, but one thing you can do is help out a friend if they went a little overboard. For starters, remind them that no one has ever died from overdosing on weed, and they likely won’t be the first. 

Set up a comfortable, cozy nest for your buddy. Think soft blankets, a few pillows, and a good spot on the couch or a nearby bed. It’s not uncommon for some people to feel cold when greening out, so offer warm blankets to help them out. 

Next, grab a glass of water. That cottonmouth is no joke, and your friend needs a drink. Tea, juice, or other non-carbonated beverages will be refreshing as well. If your friend is awake, just talk to them. Reassure them that it will pass soon and that you’re here for them. If it feels appropriate, suggest a funny TV show or movie to help distract them from their own thoughts. Sometimes that might be too much, and soothing music or some breathing exercises will be a better option. Feel it out. 

If you have CBD accessible, offer some! It just might take the edge off. Don’t leave your friend alone until they’re feeling better. And once they come back down, send them this article so they can read how to prevent greening out in the future.