How To Sober Up From Being Too High or Greening Out

Brie Lowrey

When a cannabis-induced haze turns into a cannabis-induced alternate reality, it’s likely you’ve ventured into the territory of greening out. Maybe you took one too many puffs or wildly overestimated how much of your favorite edible you could take, or perhaps you’re simply new to cannabis and have waded into waters too deep to swim in. 

So if you’re here because you feel too high, let us be the first to tell you: you’re gonna be fine. Despite what your paranoia might tell you, you will soon return to a normal, healthy state of mind. Don’t worry– it happens to the best of us!

Let’s take a look at what greening out truly is, how to best approach it, and what you can do to avoid it in the future.

What Is “Greening Out?” What Does Greening Out Mean?

A “green out” is similar to a blackout for alcohol or other substances – it happens when the brain and body become overwhelmed by the amount of THC a person has consumed. It is, in essence, the boss level of being high.

When you green out, you might feel panicked, disconnected from your body, or unable to process what’s going on around you. Of course, these sorts of symptoms can be alarming and may lead you to believe you need immediate medical attention. You can rest assured, though, that greening out isn’t a medical emergency.

While some people may have a more intense reaction to greening out than others, it’s usually pretty easy to spot signs of THC overload. It can still be useful to keep them in mind, though, both so you can learn to recognize your limits and to reassure yourself that what you’re experiencing is just greening out and not something else.

Here are a few common signs you’ve skyrocketed a bit too high into the clouds:

  • Feeling anxious, fearful, or overwhelmed
  • Paranoia
  • An increased heart rate; when coupled with anxiety, this may make you feel like your heart is racing or beating out of control
  • Nausea
  • Ataxia (poor coordination, clumsy movements)
  • Having a hard time paying attention or thinking clearly
  • Depersonalization, or feeling disconnected from reality

Why Do Some People Green Out?

Not all of us are destined to be Snoop Dogg-level cannabis connoisseurs; some people might simply have a different genetic or biological profile that makes them more sensitive to certain cannabinoids, including THC.

Another major factor that influences how likely you are to overdo it is your tolerance. Those who are new to consuming cannabis or haven’t done it in a long time can easily overwhelm themselves, especially given the potency of many of the products on the market today. What may seem like an appropriate dose could actually be 2-3x the amount you’d need to achieve the desired effects. 

Tolerance also plays a big role in determining how long your high lasts. The lower your tolerance, the longer you’ll likely feel the tidal waves of the THC you’ve consumed. Because THC in particular can warp a person’s perception of time, too much of it too quickly can make seconds feel like minutes and minutes feel like hours, which often means greening out can seem to last forever. 

THC, CBD, and the Entourage Effect

Consuming a product containing large amounts of both THC and other cannabinoids or terpenes, including CBD, may set you up to experience a more intense, long-lasting high. The presence of multiple cannabinoids can make the effects of each feel stronger thanks to the entourage effect

Think of it like adding seasonings to a dish; with a diverse profile of cannabinoids and terpenes, the experience you get can be more unique. Likewise, the main “flavor” of your high can also be enhanced by the presence of these extra pieces.

How To Sober Up Fast When Greened Out

When you’re approaching or are at the point of greening out, the first thing on your mind is likely how to get unhigh as fast as possible – but in reality, you may be doing yourself a disservice by focusing too intensely on how you feel.

Instead, accepting that you may feel uncomfortable for a bit and finding ways to adjust your surroundings to compensate can help. The more you can do to bring yourself back down to planet Earth, the better.

Create a safe, comfortable environment

It’s challenging to feel capable of calming down and mellowing out in a space that would agitate you even while sober. Do what you can to remove yourself from stressful environments (or distance yourself from stressful people!) and create an ambiance that feels inviting and cozy. 

Exactly what that looks like is up to you, but things like your favorite music, your favorite TV show, blankets, candles, and soft lighting may help you get started. Don’t feel like you have to go at it alone, either; reach out to a friend or another trusted loved one to talk about what’s up. Getting an outside perspective and some reassurance can go a long way in helping you work through the high.

Take some ibuprofen

COX-2 inhibitors, are a type of NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), may help negate the cognitive effects caused by THC exposure, which means it could lessen the intensity of your high. Taking a dose as directed by the package might steer you back toward sobriety, and even if it doesn’t, it can likely stave off things like headaches that can follow a period of greening out. 

Drink plenty of water and grab a small snack

Hydrating your body is important even on a good day, but it can be especially vital if you’re greened out. It’s easy to forget to drink water when you’re overwhelmed, but doing so can make you feel much worse. 

It might be worth it to grab a quick bite, too. Research on terpenes reveals that foods that contain certain compounds found in cannabis may act as an antidote for THC. 

Terpenes like beta-caryophyllene and pinene can be found in things like pine-nuts, peppercorn, and citrus fruits. Black pepper may be the best choice as it contains both pinene and beta-caryophyllene, each of which are known to stifle the effects of THC by binding to the same receptors in the endocannabinoid system. These terpenes essentially take the spots that THC molecules might, which means they’ll continue on their merry way instead of locking into the brain and body.

Take your mind off your symptoms

Distract yourself with fun, easy activities that don’t require much effort. A lot of times, anxiety and paranoia can make symptoms seem more intense than they really are. Try playing your favorite video game, putting on your favorite music, watching a show (maybe not a super trippy one, though), or whatever else helps you shift your focus elsewhere.

Try to remember that you’re not in danger

There is no known lethal dose of THC. No studies have shown evidence that any amount of THC leads to consequences that can cause death. In fact, your chances of hurting yourself accidentally while high are probably the only thing you need to worry about in terms of safety. 

So, as valid as it is to want to find out how to stop being high as quickly as you can, it may help to realize that the consequences of being higher than the atmosphere… are not so bad. The best thing you can do might just be to chill and wait it out for a little while. 

The urgency and panic you may feel while greening out can make the entire experience much more arduous, and while it may be easier said than done, reassuring yourself that you’re going to be okay can make a huge difference.

Stay away from the green

This may be self-explanatory, but it’s important to steer clear of THC-containing products in the hours or perhaps even days following a green out. Some people may find that adding more CBD to the mix by consuming a CBD isolate product (as full-spectrum CBD is likely to contain more THC) can help. 

Adding CBD to the party may help mellow out your high. CBD works differently than THC in that it doesn’t produce psychoactive effects, but again, products with CBD can easily contain even trace amounts of THC. Be sure to check the lab results and packaging for the product you’re considering to confirm whether or not THC is present. 

Recovering From Greening Out The Day After

Even when you wake up the day after a green out, you may experience some noticeable lingering effects. Luckily, things like head fog, fatigue, mild nausea, and other potential remnants of your green out can usually be addressed through simple remedies.

  • Get lots of rest. Greening out can be a highly stressful experience for your brain and body, so make sure to give both the rest they need. Getting at least a solid 7-8 hours of sleep is typically the best way to go.
  • Take a refreshing shower, go for a walk, or have a caffeinated drink. To clear the clouds out of your head and help yourself feel more awake, try moving your body or sipping some coffee.
  • Treat lingering symptoms like headaches as usual. Don’t be afraid to take your usual course of action to manage physical symptoms like headaches. It’s definitely possible to experience these sorts of things even the day after.

Use Cannabis With Caution To Avoid Greening Out

Overall, the best way to manage a green out is usually by taking steps to help yourself feel comfortable and safe as you ride it out. 

Some medications and remedies may help you mellow out your high, but they likely won’t get rid of it completely. Because it can be so easy to overwhelm yourself when using cannabis, it’s best to talk to a doctor before starting or stopping any medication plan, including one related to cannabis (CBD, THC, marijuana, etc.) 

To learn more about how to select products that fit your needs and won’t lead you to accidentally green out, feel free to contact us for a consultation and resources that can help you make the right decision.

How To Sober Up From Being Too High or Greening Out
If you’re here because you feel too high: you’re gonna be fine. Let’s take a look at what greening out is and what you can do to avoid it in the future.
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How To Sober Up From Being Too High or Greening Out
December 4, 2023
THC Education