It's no surprise.
The levels of THC have risen significantly over the last two decades.
Just between 1995 and 2005, the level of THC rose from about 4% to 12%.
That's 3 times the amount.
We looked at the issue with this in detail at article on the problems with high THC cannabis.
Add to that the amount of CBD which has been shown to offset the effects of THC have dropped during the same time period!
CBD has long been shown by research to counter some of the negatives of THC.
Check out why CBD is must if you use THC for more on the relationship.
The trend didn't end there though.
On the legal market, strains with roughly 70% THC make up 1/5th of the market in Washington!
This is going to lead to quite a bit of greening out.
Greening out is the term for taking in too much cannabis but really, it's the THC.
The symptoms are generally:
- Severe psychotic effects including paranoia, anxiety, and fear response
- Various symptoms of panic attacks such as increase pulse, shortness of breath
- Physical symptoms including seizure-like shaking or heavy limbs
- Depression-like symptoms such as lack of movement, energy, or enthusiasm
We have a full review of CBD versus THC or weed for anxiety here.
In general, it's a really bad place to be.
So the question we get often...what can you do to prevent or deal with greening out?
More to the point, what does CBD do for greening out?
We're glad you asked and even more excited to give the answer.
We'll go through some common questions:
- What is greening out
- Why does THC make you green out
- How does CBD help with greening out
- How to prevent greening out with CBD
- Is CBD safe for greening out
- Can greening out kill you
The last one is extreme but when you're deep in a green out, it's going to pop up!!
Let's look at all of it.
What is greening out
Greening out is really a temporary form of psychosis.
Let's call it what it is.
The various symptoms we mentioned above speak to key neurotransmitters being way out of balance.
The primary culprit is dopamine (your reward drug) and there are distinct similarities in the brain between THC activation and psychosis.
Activity differences show in the same areas for both greening out and psychosis:
- Prefrontal cortex - your rational brain
- Striatum - involved with voluntary motion and reward! (part of the addiction piece)
Interestingly, CBD has the exact OPPOSITE effect in the brain!
CBD helped to normalize the brain areas affected and alleviate the symptoms!
There's a great explanation here:
It's so interesting that the same plant has both components together with offsetting effects in the body and brain.
Here's the issues...the trend in cannabis as we saw earlier has been towards much higher levels of THC and much lower levels of the protective CBD.
There's one more factor to look at for any negative effects with greening out.
Can CBD help with histamine response or allergies to THC?
It's estimated that 73% of people with allergy and histamine issues also have an allergic reaction to THC.
That doesn't even touch on the pesticides rampantly used in the illegal market...some of which have been banned for decades!
Try to go legal market if you can JUST to avoid these chemicals.
You're combusting them which adds a new layer of danger.
This alone can be a reason for greening out with cannabis.
Your body's histamine response is there to get bad things out of the body FAST!
Then, there's just all that green plant material.
You can have a histamine response to the terpenes, flavonoids, and other plant material in cannabis.
CBD steps in here as well.
Check out how CBD works to calm histamine response in the body!
Why does THC make you green out?
There are two types of cannabinoid receptors in the body:
- CB1 - primarily in the brain and nervous system
- CB2 - throughout the body but most prevalent in the immune and endocrine (hormone) system
THC interacts with the CB1 receptors in the brain most strongly.
CBD interacts primarily with the CB2 receptors throughout the body.
It's the CB1 receptor activity in the brain that gives THC the high effect.
Think of high as a milder shifting of the neurotransmitters in the brain and nervous system.
Greening out is a full-tilt shifting.
Too much shifting!
Eventually, the liver and body gets rid of the activated THC but till then, you have the symptoms of greening out.
So...the big question.
How does CBD help with greening out
CBD helps with greening out in two different ways:
- Blocks further metabolism of THC in the liver
- Offsets effects of THC in the brain
First, let's stop the input!
You have THC floating around in your system and the liver actually has to metabolize it to make it psychoactive.
CBD blocks this metabolism so that it can't continue to upset the brain's neurotransmitters.
Secondly, research actually shows that CBD helps to balance the brain and offset the symptoms listed above.
That's the output side.
CBD may be the only way to address both of these issues.
It has a calming effect on histamine and allergic response!
How to prevent greening out with CBD
First, try to have a higher CBD content in your cannabis.
We've created Frankenstein strains of late with jacked up THC and little CBD so greening out is not unexpected.
A recent article showed that strong pot is sending people to the ER with temporary psychosis and other effects:
If you suspect a low level of CBD, always have a bottle of CBD oil available. You can even take the CBD prior to using cannabis to offset the effects.
This is especially true if you don't have a good reaction to cannabis but will be around it (concert, with friends, etc).
Use CBD prior to being around it.
CBD oil might be your new best friend for the night out if cannabis is around.
This brings up a good question.
We see that you can overdose on too much THC...what about CBD?
Is CBD safe for greening out
The safety profile of CBD is very strong.
Check out more detail and questions on CBD safety here.
There has not been a reported overdose on CBD which is pretty amazing considering that Tylenol is the leading cause of ER liver failure.
Doses in research generally run from 300-600 mg depending on the situation but 25-50 mg is an accepted wellness levels.
Your desired amount depends on sensitivity to THC and where you're at.
Look...if you or a friend is in a full blow green out, that would argue for a higher amount of pure CBD (not full-spectrum...more on that below).
Start low and work your way up. The feelings of panic are usually more pressing issues.
The type of CBD you use is very important.
Best CBD Oil for greening out
First and foremost, we want CBD by itself.
No full-spectrum. No hemp oil. We want only CBD Isolate.
We also want CBD isolate in either MCT (coconut oil extract) or Olive oil.
Hemp oil may be more of same thing (small levels of THC and/or other plant material for allergic response).
We focus on CBD Isolate for the 24-36% of the population that is estimated to be allergic to full-spectrum any way.
The 1000 mg bottle is probably fine for a group of friends unless you expect more frequent or severe reactions (go easy, friends!).
- One dropper of the 1000 mg bottles is about 35 mg of pure CBD.
- One dropper of the 2000 mg bottle is about 70 mg of pure CBD.
That and a coconut oil extract. Nothing else.
Can greening out kill you
It is not likely but you still have to be smart about it.
Extreme THC overdose can result in psychosis and panic attacks.
With enough of it, there have been reports of cardiac complications (increased pulse, heavy breathing, etc) and stroke. This is very uncommon but not zero.
It's more the knock-on effects of greening out that can be more serious.
CBD is a great tool to help offset greening out but you should seek medical help if it appears more serious.
Most importantly, you can use CBD prior to cannabis to avoid greening out altogether.
Be very careful with edibles as they tend to show after a period of time and most people don't realize the full effect till it's too late.
Have CBD oil handy prior to and during use.
It also needs 15-20 minutes to metabolize in the body.
Be preventative about it.
One other powerful tool for greening out is pregnenolone.
Pregnenolone then, acting as a signaling specific inhibitor of the CB1 receptor, reduces several effects of THC.
In fact, increasing pregnenolone is the brain's natural way to offset high THC.
We have a full review of pregnenolone here.
Always work with a doctor or naturopath with any supplement!
The information provided here is not intended to treat an illness or substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a qualified healthcare provider.