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What Is Greening Out?

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You may have heard the term “blacking out” in relation to alcohol abuse. But what about greening out? What does greened out mean? Is it also a substance-related term, or does it refer to something else entirely?

What Is Greening Out?

If a person wakes up after a period of heavy drinking with no memory of what they did while they were intoxicated, they may have had a blackout. Blacking out after drinking can be a sign of a serious problem. But what does greened out mean? 

Greening out sounds like blacking out, but the two terms are not synonymous.

Blackouts involve temporary amnesia, or brief memory loss, as a result of substance use. Although alcohol abuse is perhaps the most common cause of blackouts, they can also occur after a person has abused a variety of other drugs.

Someone who is in the midst of a blackout will remain conscious. They may interact with others and engage in a variety of activities. But when they awaken (or when the effects of the substances wear off) they will not be able to recall what they said, did, or experienced. 

Greening out occurs when a person consumes a large or particularly strong amount of cannabis (marijuana). Someone who has greened out may experience effects such as the following:

  • Dizziness and lightheadedness
  • Confusion and disorientation
  • Problems with balance, coordination
  • Feeling that their arms and legs are too heavy to move
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Anxiety, panic, and paranoia

To summarize: Blacking out and greening out both result from excessive substance abuse. However, blacking out is typically associated with alcohol, and its primary characteristic is memory loss. 

Greening out is an effect of cannabis abuse, and its effects, while potentially quite unpleasant, do not include amnesia.

Who Is at Risk for Greening Out?

Anyone who uses marijuana can be at risk of greening out, but the likelihood of going through this experience may be elevated for those in the following circumstances:

  • People who have little to no prior experience with marijuana, and who end up using more of the drug than they should have.
  • Individuals who are trying edibles for the first time and mismanage the dosage level.
  • Someone who has been drinking heavily or using other substances in addition to marijuana.
  • A person who uses marijuana when they are dehydrated or haven’t eaten enough.

Is Greening Out Dangerous?

One way to answer the question, “What does greened out mean?” is that it means a person has overdosed on marijuana.

Now, it’s important to understand that, in this context, overdose means that a person has used more (or more potent) marijuana than they were able to safely handle. This doesn’t mean that they are in imminent danger of dying, as can occur when a person overdoses on opioids or some other substances.

In most cases, the effects of greening out will dissipate in a few hours. While they can be upsetting, they don’t usually cause lasting harm. That doesn’t mean that the experience is entirely risk-free, though.

The disorientation and disrupted coordination that can result from greening out can cause slips, falls, and more serious accidents. Also, someone who greens out on a regular basis may struggle with long-term mental health concerns.

Does Greening Out Mean I’m Addicted to Marijuana?

Going through a green out doesn’t mean that you have developed cannabis use disorder, which is the clinical term for marijuana addiction. But if you experience multiple green outs, this could be a sign that you have lost control of your marijuana use. (And yes, contrary to an unfortunately persistent myth, it is possible to become addicted to marijuana.)

If you think that you might be addicted to marijuana, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Once you start using marijuana, do you find it difficult or impossible to stop?
  2. When you’re not able to use marijuana, do you become agitated, irritated, or angry?
  3. Have you continued to use marijuana even after incurring harm as a result of prior use?
  4. Do you need to use larger amounts of marijuana to achieve the effects that you desire?
  5. Have you begun to prioritize marijuana use over your personal, academic, or work-related responsibilities?
  6. Have you started to use marijuana in particularly dangerous ways, such as by combining it with other addictive substances?
  7. Do you find it difficult to be happy or cope with stress without using marijuana?
  8. Have you tried to end your marijuana use, but discovered that you were unable to do so?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may want to consider talking to your doctor or another healthcare provider about your concerns. 

Find Marijuana Addiction Treatment in Nashville

The best way to protect yourself from greening out is to stop using marijuana. If you can’t accomplish that on your own, Nashville Treatment Solutions can help.

Our center serves adults in the Nashville, Tennessee, area whose lives have been disrupted by the compulsive use of marijuana and other substances. We also care for adults whose struggles with addiction are accompanied by certain co-occurring mental health concerns

At Nashville Treatment Solutions, we understand that every person who becomes addicted to marijuana is impacted in a unique way, and we are committed to providing a truly personalized experience to everyone who seeks our assistance. We offer multiple outpatient options, including both day and evening programs, as well as sober living residences for those who need supportive housing while they are enrolled in treatment.

If you’re ready to stop using marijuana for good, the Nashville Treatment Solutions team is here for you. To learn more or to schedule a free assessment, please visit our Admissions page or call us today.