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Updated on June 8, 2022

Symptoms of Being High

Symptoms of Being High

Marijuana is one of the most widely used drugs in the United States. Although legal in many states, it's still possible to overdose on the drug.

Ten common signs of being high on marijuana include:1

  1. Altered senses, like seeing brighter colors
  2. Altered sense of time
  3. Mood changes
  4. Impaired body movement
  5. Difficulty with thinking and problem-solving
  6. Impaired memory
  7. Hallucinations
  8. Delusions
  9. Psychosis 
  10. Red, bloodshot eyes

What is “Greening Out?”

“Greening out” is also known as whiting out. It’s a casual term used to describe when a person feels sick after smoking marijuana.

They may go pale, turning a slight shade of green or white. They may sweat, feel dizzy and nauseous, or start vomiting.

This experience can be frightening. Users can become very anxious and begin to panic.

In extreme cases, someone may experience prolonged vomiting and hallucinations. Some users report that the only way to reduce these symptoms is to lie down.

Greening out is often described as a cannabis overdose. It’s much more likely to occur if someone has been drinking alcohol before they start smoking.

When you have alcohol in your blood, you might absorb tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) faster. THC is the part of cannabis that gets you stoned.

Even if you’ve smoked what you believe to be an average amount of marijuana, it gets absorbed more quickly when you drink alcohol. This can lead to a much stronger and often more unpleasant effect than usual.

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7 Ways to Calm Down When You’re High

If you believe you are high, stop marijuana use. The following are seven ways to calm down and feel better if you are high:

Find a quiet place to sit or lie down

Breathing exercises or listening to calm music can help you relax after using marijuana. If you decide to listen to music, choose something you know all the words to. This can help you stay grounded in the moment. 

Eventually, the high will fade to a feeling of relaxation or drowsiness. If you feel tired, allow yourself to fall asleep if you’re in a safe and comfortable place.

Drink water

Drinking water before, during, and after marijuana use can help if you’re feeling too high. Cannabis can often lead to a dry mouth, so drinking water can help in that sense, too. It also gives you something to focus on.

Shift your focus

Changing your focus to something other than your high can stop you from thinking about it too much. Think about something simple, like a good memory, and avoid anything anxiety-inducing like graphic video games or horror films.

Eat

Not eating enough before using marijuana can be dangerous or unpleasant. Eating something can help you feel better. 

Try eating high-fat or carb-heavy foods to fill your stomach.

Talk to a friend

Speaking to a close friend can help calm you if you feel too high. Call a trusted and sober friend and have them talk to you or spend time with you until you feel better.

The buddy system is also an excellent way to keep you from doing anything risky while under the influence.

Take a walk

Go on a walk, even if it’s just for 10 to 15 minutes. Some light movement can distract you so you don’t focus on your high. 

A walk can also lower your blood pressure, relieve stress and anxiety, and improve your mood.

Try CBD

It may sound counterintuitive, but some people use CBD to counteract the effects of THC. Like THC, CBD is a cannabinoid found in cannabis. However, unlike THC, which causes the high, CBD interacts with different brain receptors. 

Several animal and human studies have shown the benefits of CBD for various forms of anxiety. CBD may also help some people sleep.

How Long Does a High Last?

A cannabis high can last between 2 to 10 hours, depending on various factors.

These factors include:

  • How much THC you’ve consumed
  • Weight and body fat percentage
  • Metabolism
  • Whether or not you’ve eaten
  • Tolerance

The length in time a high lasts also depends on how you consume the marijuana:

Smoking

You can start to feel the effects of marijuana within 2 to 10 minutes after smoking it. It kicks in within minutes of inhaling as it enters your bloodstream via your lungs.

Edibles

Your digestive system metabolizes marijuana when you eat it. This can take a while.

Edibles typically kick in between 30 to 60 minutes. But, the effects of edibles can sometimes take as long as 2 hours to present themselves.2

Vaping

Like smoking marijuana, the effects of vaping should kick in within 2 to 10 minutes.

How to Make Sure You Don’t Get too High

Especially If you haven’t smoked marijuana before, you should pace yourself. With edibles, you can always eat more, not less. This is especially since the effects are delayed when smoking compared to ingesting.

Edibles have different effects on different people. If a friend says a certain amount of marijuana is enough for them, it might be too much for you. 

For edibles, take a small amount and wait a few hours before eating more. Knowing your limits is essential.

Edibles also affect the body depending on how much you’ve eaten. Taking edibles on an empty stomach means the marijuana will hit much quicker and may feel stronger. 

Whatever method you plan to take marijuana, it’s best to try it in the safety of your home or around people you know and trust. Too much activity from a public place or a party can trigger intense anxiety symptoms.

A calm and quiet environment is the best place to try marijuana.

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Resources

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  1. NIDA. "Cannabis (Marijuana) DrugFacts." National Institute on Drug Abuse, 24 Dec. 2019
  2. NIDA. "What are marijuana's effects?." National Institute on Drug Abuse, 19 Apr. 2021
  3. Volkow, Nora D et al. “Adverse health effects of marijuana use.” The New England journal of medicine vol. 370,23 : 2219-27
  4. Turner AR, Spurling BC, Agrawal S. Marijuana Toxicity. [Updated 2021 Aug 2]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. 
  5. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; Health and Medicine Division; Board on Population Health and Public Health Practice; Committee on the Health Effects of Marijuana: An Evidence Review and Research Agenda. The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids: The Current State of Evidence and Recommendations for Research. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2017 Jan 12. 4, Therapeutic Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids
  6. Lafaye, Genevieve et al. “Cannabis, cannabinoids, and health.” Dialogues in clinical neuroscience vol. 19,3 : 309-316

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