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Greening Out? Why and How to Fix It

There’s no point in sugar-coating it – greening out totally sucks. Unfortunately, the experience is something of a rite of passage that most cannabis users go through at some point on their journey, and it’s often by learning the hard way that one figures out how to avoid a repeat of the ordeal. Listening to the advice of those who have lived to tell the tale can also save you a whole lot of bother, so you may want to read on for some pearls of whitey wisdom.

What Is Greening Out?

In a nutshell, greening out means you’ve gone and got yourself way too stoned. It’s overconsumption. More accurately, it’s the consequence of ingesting more THC than your cannabinoid receptors can handle. In particular, the CB1 receptor – which forms part of the endocannabinoid system – can easily become swamped by excessive cannabis use.

Taking one too many hits on that bong or just smoking or vaping a cannabis strain with a super high THC content can overwhelm your receptors, triggering a host of physical and mental side effects.

What To Expect

Greening out can involve a wide range of symptoms and may affect each cannabis consumer differently. Among the most common complaints is a sharp increase in anxiety, sometimes leading to panic attacks.

A loss of complexion can also be expected, which is why greening out is also known as whiteying. Developing an ashy pallor often goes hand-in-hand with a drop in blood pressure and an increased heart rate, all of which can heighten the anxiety and emotional suffering that comes with ingesting too much cannabis.

Some people may also develop an upset stomach, resulting in nausea and vomiting, while others may even experience mild hallucinations. Heavy arms and legs, a loss of balance and coordination, and intense tiredness and a dry, cotton mouth and light headedness are all par for the course, so expect to be firmly locked into the couch.

OK, that’s the bad news. The good news is that no matter how lousy you might feel, the whole thing is going to blow over and you’re going to be fine. There’s absolutely no evidence that anyone has ever died from smoking weed, and while greening out might feel like the end of the world, the truth is that it won’t leave any lasting damage.

Taking too many massive bong hits can sometimes lead to greening out.

Why Do People Green Out?

It’s worth remembering that the dreaded whitey can strike even the most seasoned stoner, although inexperienced cannabis consumers who haven’t yet figured out their limits are more likely to fall into the green abyss. Classic mistakes include smoking weed on an empty stomach or being a little too liberal with edibles or taking a dab.

On the subject of edibles, it’s important to remember that ingesting cannabis this way creates a lag as the THC has to first pass through the gut before entering the blood stream. In contrast, smoking weed produces an almost instant effect as all the cannabinoids are absorbed straight into the blood from the lungs.

While waiting for their weed to kick in, the uninitiated edibles consumer may be lulled into thinking they simply haven’t eaten enough. Be warned, however, that grabbing another slice of that space cake can go horribly wrong once the show starts, and often results in greening out.

What To Do If You Pull A Whitey?

If you do end up in Green Town, it’s essential to stay calm and remember that the ordeal is temporary and will pass. Getting into a stress will only make things worse and can increase the risk of a panic attack.

The next thing to do is find a calm, safe space where you feel safe, ideally in the company of someone you trust. Hunker down with some relaxing music and try to sleep it off if you can. Otherwise, take a deep breath and just wait it out and keep reminding yourself that you will emerge unscathed.

It might sound strange, but chewing on black peppercorns or sucking on a slice of lemon can lessen the effects of cannabis and stop the experience from becoming too intense. This is because these items contain the terpenes beta-caryophyllene and myrcene respectively, which block cannabinoid receptors and prevent THC from doing its thing.

Similarly, CBD has the potential to counteract the effects of THC, which is why all stoners should carry CBD oil in their cannabis first aid box. Taking a few drops can be a lifesaver when you’re greening out.

To drink water is also highly advisable, as is eating fruit or other sugary items in order to keep your blood sugar levels up. Hydration is key. Other than that, though, all you can really do is play the waiting game until things return to normal.

Expect to feel like this if you pull a whitey.

How To Avoid Greening Out

Obviously, the best way to avoid greening out is to ensure that you don’t consume too much THC too quickly. As the saying goes: start low and go slow.

When applied to edibles, this means not stuffing your face right off the bat. Start with half a brownie or a small number of gummies, making sure not to exceed 5 milligrams of THC in your first sitting. If nothing happens for a while, remain patient and avoid reaching for more until at least two hours have passed. At this point, if you still haven’t felt anything, try eating a little more, but don’t go nuts.

Bear in mind that hash, oil and other concentrates and extracts tend to have a much higher THC content than regular smoked cannabis, so the same rule about restraint applies when using these products.

Whatever mode of consumption you choose, it’s always best to make sure you’re not getting baked on an empty stomach or mixing weed with booze, as both of these significantly increase your chances of pulling a whitey. It might sound like a no-brainer, but showing off by smoking more weed than you can handle is also a terrible idea, as is giving in to peer pressure and smoking more than you really want.

But don’t panic. Greening out is not life-threatening. You’ll be totally fine in no time.

Ultimately, the best way to avoid greening out is to make sure you know exactly how much THC is in your weed, and stay away from any super potent cultivars if you’re not sure you can tolerate them. Fortunately, there are plenty of Low-THC strains that are also high in CBD, so sticking to these is the way to go if you’re concerned about the dreaded whitey.

Low-THC Strains To Help You Avoid Greening Out

Peyote Wifi CBD contains twice as much CBD as THC, so you really can’t go wrong with this strain. With around eight percent THC, this hybrid cultivar is considerably milder than regular Peyote Wifi and provides a super chilled-out high with no danger of ending up on your back.

Euphoria CBD from Royal Queen Seeds is another regret-free strain for the cautious stoner, and there’s even a Purple Kush CBD strain for those looking for that relaxing Indica vibe without the couch lock or paranoia.

Cultivation information, and media is given for those of our clients who live in countries where cannabis cultivation is decriminalised or legal, or to those that operate within a licensed model. We encourage all readers to be aware of their local laws and to ensure they do not break them.

This post is also available in: French

Ben Taub