Updated on November 12, 2021.
Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer
Think that you can’t overdose on cannabis? Just because cannabis doesn’t send as many people to the hospital as other controlled substances doesn’t mean you can’t take too much. And experience awful symptoms as a result. In fact, they have a name for it; greening out.
Chances are you may have already experienced being “too high” and hated it. We don’t blame you. Here are eight common signs that you have had a gummy too many or overestimated your tolerance for concentrated cannabis.
This might be one of the first symptoms you experience when you have too much THC in your system. Some people feel a mild upset stomach. Others get severe nausea, particularly if they have taken higher concentrated cannabis. And too much of it.
How bad can that nausea get? Laying on the floor telling your cat that you are never going to smoke concentrates again. And when you reach that point, there isn’t a lot you can do to make that nausea go away. Chances are, you are also going to throw up.
If you or someone you know is experiencing extreme nausea, and uncontrollable vomiting, head to the emergency room right away. Scromiting (scream vomiting) isn’t an urban legend; it’s a critical set of symptoms that require medical assistance.
Feeling like you have the spins? That symptom isn’t unique to drinking too much alcohol. Too much weed can do it to you too. And it’s the kind of dizziness that can almost paralyze you. Not physically paralyze you, but make you feel so uncomfortable that you don’t want to move.
So, if cannabis can ease pain, inflammation, and make you feel happy and relaxed, how can it make you feel dizzy too? Well, for starters, your heart rate increases, and so does your blood pressure. That can cause it.
Check out our resource page for more information on cannabis-induced dizziness, and how to help ease the symptoms. And learn why you should talk to your doctor if you experience this symptom of dizziness often.
3. Anxiety and Paranoia
Hear that sound? No? Is someone at the front door? Did you lock your car in the parking lot? The symptoms of paranoia only seem insignificant and mildly entertaining if you are not the one experiencing them. Otherwise, the anxiety and paranoia can feel like a full-blown panic attack when you are greening out.
Some strains that have a reputation for causing cannabis-induced paranoia are:
Jack the Ripper
Super Silver Haze
Or it could be something mild like “did I turn off the stove?” Delta-9 THC creates neurological and hallucinatory effects in marijuana. And what is interesting about cannabis-triggered paranoia, is that it can reflect things of which we are subliminally afraid.
Cultivators try to breed qualities of paranoia out of popular strains. And some of the most expensive strains are ones that have a low to no probability of creating paranoid feelings. Remember to research your strain carefully. And remember that your mood and stressors can also trigger paranoid feelings, no matter what strain you use.
4. Dumbing Down and Communication Problems
We all have that friend that takes a hit or two and then won’t stop talking. Boy, that’s fun. And sometimes weed can take you to a place where you are hyper-focused on something. Like whether your dog can tell when you are high. He can. You smell like cannabis, and he is a natural cannabinoid detector, just like a police dog. And he knows you are greening out.
Slurred speech can happen. Inability to remember what you were talking about. Pretty common also among people who have taken a little (or a lot) too much. Not even your dog may be able to understand you. But he’ll probably keep an eye on you.
5. Feeling Tired
Indica, and that feeling of being couch-locked. Sure, if you chose a strain that has a high probability for Captain Crunch on the couch, followed by brief hibernation, you expect to get sleepy. But sometimes, feeling tired is also a sign of cannabis intoxication. Or more THC than your body can manage.
So, why is your brain calling a system-wide shutdown? It needs to focus. One of the adaptive mechanisms of the brain, when it is dealing with a crisis, is to sedate the body. Stop you from moving (and potentially injuring yourself). And then, the brain does a full diagnostic to determine where the damage is. And what to do about it.
If you have been smoking a high-potency Sativa that is supposed to create euphoria, energy, and alertness, and suddenly want to curl up and go to sleep, it’s a sign of intoxication. And falling asleep, depending on your condition, may not be the best or safest idea. Sit up, try to stay awake, and hydrate with water. Try eating something as well if you haven’t snacked.
6. Moderate to Severe Dry Mouth
Hello, feeling of cotton balls in your mouth. Yuck. But dry mouth is a real symptom. However, it’s not caused by the heat or dryness of the smoke. Your mouth feeling like the Sahara Desert has to do with the production of saliva reducing, thanks to your cannabinoid receptors. It may mean you are greening out.
Inside the beloved healing herb are almost 100 different cannabinoids. And your body has cannabinoid receptors everywhere. You’d almost think humans were designed to benefit from cannabis or something.
Some of the cannabinoids in the cannabis you ingested, triggered receptors in your saliva glands. The Submandibular saliva glands make over 75% of the saliva in our mouth. Cannabis can make your brain send a message through the parasympathetic nervous system (brain to body hotline) that causes saliva to slow down.
Some strains of cannabis are notorious for causing cotton mouth, or dry mouth symptoms when you are greening out include:
If you are experiencing extreme dry mouth, and you have an aloe plant? You are in luck! Take the natural aloe gel and stir it into a glass of water, swish, and then drink. There are even some products you can buy to gargle with that can help restore moisture and counteract dry mouth.
7. Increased Heart Rate
Smoke some weed or take a tincture, and you are going to feel your heart rate escalate. For some people, the feeling may not be noticeable. For others, it can feel like your heart is going to pound out of your chest. And it all depends on the potency of the cannabis and your tolerance for cannabinoids. Also, it can be a sign of greening out.
Several clinical studies also suggest that the risk of having a heart attack may be several times higher after ingesting or inhaling cannabis. Harvard Health shares a study by a researcher named Dr. Mukamal that suggests smoking marijuana can increase “long-term death rates among heart attack survivors.” And the incident rates of atrial fibrillation and ischemic stroke increase also. Particularly for people who use concentrated high-potency cannabis.
8. Feeling Chilled or Sweating
Cannabis can make your body temperature drop. So, if your teeth start chattering and you reach for your hoodie, it’s not all in your head. It’s in your CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors.
It is in your head, in terms of where the signal starts in the hypothalamus. This is the area in the front of the brain that controls some of the signals for the autonomic nervous system. Those are reactions to your body that happen so fast; they are automatic, like hunger, drowsiness, thirst, and body temperature.
Fun fact? Smoking cannabis on a hot day could help cool you off. Cannabis jives with the vanilloid receptors (TRPA-1 etc.). Receptors in the body register cannabis as something that could increase the body temperature and so there is an initiative-taking response to chill out.
People who use concentrates often experience something called “dab sweats.” After you take a dab hit, typically, you cough. If you take a hit that is way too big off your dabber, you are going to cough a lot. And that is usually where the dab sweats come in.
The cough is an attempt to get some of the THC out of your body. And so are the sweats. So, if you start coughing and sweating, pay attention to what your body is telling you. You are greening out and need to take some steps to help your body recover. Before you get some of the other unpleasant symptoms of cannabis overload.
Know When to Seek Medical Help
Even experienced cannabis users can experience serious symptoms of greening out. But most often, it is people who don’t have a lot of experience using it that overestimate their natural tolerance level. And head into the danger zone of getting uncomfortable and “too high.”
There are some situations where you may, in fact, want to head to the clinic or your nearest emergency room. Because while the concept of getting too impaired may seem entertaining, you could experience life-threatening symptoms. Or hallucinogenic effects that put you, or someone else, in danger. Particularly if you have certain mental health conditions for which cannabis is not recommended.
Never leave someone who has smoked or ingested too much cannabis alone. Just like alcohol intoxication, nausea and vomiting present a choking hazard. If someone loses consciousness, seek emergency medical help. And always make sure someone is lying on their side (not their back or face down) if they are experiencing severe cannabis-induced nausea.