Josh Chandler | December 20, 2023

Greening Out: Marijuana Addiction

Understanding Greening Out and Its Link to Marijuana Addiction

Marijuana is a substance that has an extensive history associated with recreational use, however, in modern society, there has been an increased prevalence of using marijuana for recreational and medicinal purposes. The more marijuana consumption has continued to gain attention and popularity, there has been an increasing awareness of the adverse reaction to marijuana known as “greening out”. This phenomenon raises significant concerns about the potential link between greening out and marijuana addiction. To understand the full scope of this debate and issue, it is essential to look deeper into the concept of greening out and explore the dynamic and intricate connections to addiction. 


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What is Greening Out? Exploring the Symptoms

Greening out, also known as a “white-out” or an “overdose” refers to the adverse reactions that an individual can experience after consuming an excessive amount of marijuana. This reaction is characterized by a range of symptoms that can occur both physically and mentally. If you consume marijuana and begin greening out, you may experience symptoms such as: 

  • Nausea 
  • Dizziness 
  • Vomiting 
  • Heightened anxiety 
  • Paranoia 
  • Hallucinations 

The symptoms of greening out will differ from person to person depending on your circumstances and specific factors. Certain key factors that can influence the symptoms of greening out include the potency of the marijuana consumed, the method you consume marijuana, and your tolerance levels. Understanding the symptoms of greening out and the key factors that can contribute to greening out, can help you understand if you or someone you know is at risk for greening out. An in-depth understanding of greening out provides insight into when you should seek help from a healthcare professional or professional support to provide timely, effective assistance. 

Greening Out: Causes and Effects

To understand the science behind greening out, it is important to understand the intricate factors that contribute to this occurrence. The psychoactive compound, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), plays a central, critical role in greening out. The levels of THC, your tolerance, and the particular method of consumption can collectively influence the severity of the reaction to marijuana. 

When you consume marijuana with high THC concentrations, especially through methods of consumption such as dabbing or edibles, it can greatly increase the risk of greening out. Individual tolerance that is developed from factors such as frequency of use and genetics will create varying levels of tolerance ranging in severity. The diverse ranges of tolerance levels will contribute to the varying degrees of reactions amongst marijuana users. 

The effects of greening out extend beyond the immediate discomfort experienced during the greening out episode. When you experience prolonged or frequent greening-out periods, there can be a significant increase in risks for long-lasting cognitive functioning and mental health. Understanding the intricate causes and effects of greening out, will help individuals to make informed decisions on marijuana use and if it is right for you and your overall health. 


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Marijuana Use and Addiction: Recognizing the Signs

Marijuana is often perceived as a non-addictive substance, however, it is crucial to understand and recognize the signs of addiction. While many people have a stereotypical image of addiction, it often comes with images of alcohol or opioid addiction, however, it is important to understand that marijuana addiction is real and has become a growing concern. Recognizing the signs of addiction allows for early intervention before a marijuana addiction progresses or worsens. 

Common signs of marijuana addiction to be aware of are: 

  1. Changes in social behavior 
  2. Neglecting your usual responsibilities 
  3. Developing an increased tolerance to marijuana 
  4. Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when not engaging in substance use 
  5. Loss of interest in activities that once brought you joy 
  6. The majority of your time is surrounded by marijuana use 
  7. Heightened anxiety 
  8. Irritability 
  9. Depression 
  10. Changes in familial or social relationships 
  11. Isolating from loved ones 
  12. Decline in performance at work or school 
  13. Expressing a desire to quit or cut back on marijuana use but unable to follow through with it 
  14. Engaging in high-risk behaviors or ignoring health concerns from marijuana use 

Understanding the signs and indicators of marijuana addiction is paramount for you or your loved ones to identify problematic behaviors and seek the proper help within a substance use disorder treatment program promptly. 


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The Risks of Greening Out: Short-Term and Long-Term Impacts

Greening out poses several immediate risks for those who experience it, but it is imperative to understand the short-term and long-term impacts of greening out to make an informed decision on your marijuana use. Short-term impacts can often include cognitive impairments, impaired motor skills, and heightened anxiety. Cognitive functions such as memory or concentration can be compromised which leads to challenges in your academic or professional performance. 

Long-term impacts of greening out have been proven to have a significant impact on mental health functioning. This can appear as an increased risk of anxiety disorders or depression which can have long-term consequences if they continue to persist. There has also been research that has linked long-term, excessive use of marijuana to an increased risk of psychosis in certain vulnerable individuals. 

Understanding the multifaceted risks of greening out highlights the need for proper education and awareness of responsible marijuana use. As signs and indicators emerge for addiction, it allows for proper, timely responses to these concerns and can be an early intervention for addiction treatment. 

Treatment Options for Marijuana Addiction

Marijuana addiction requires a comprehensive approach to treatment that addresses the unique needs of each person. There are a variety of therapeutic interventions that are beneficial in the treatment of marijuana addiction including: 

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Supports individuals in understanding and identifying problematic patterns of thinking and unhealthy behaviors. Through CBT, patients can learn how to adjust their thoughts and behaviors to foster healthy thinking and behavior that supports long-term recovery 
  • Motivational Enhancement Therapy: This method of treatment focuses on helping patients understand and identify their motivation for change 
  • Individual therapy sessions: These sessions help patients explore the underlying causes of addiction and develop healthy coping strategies that will foster recovery and wellness 
  • Group therapy sessions or support groups: Patients are encouraged to participate in therapeutic sessions with others who understand the cycle of addiction and offer one another support, guidance, and hope in the recovery process. 
  • Holistic approaches: Patients are encouraged to participate in mindfulness practices, stress reduction techniques, and physical activities that promote positive mental health functioning, emotional regulation, and overall healthy physical well-being. 

Muse Treatment’s Approach to Marijuana Addiction and Recovery

At Muse Treatment Center, we understand the personal nature of addiction and strive to provide our patients with a treatment program that is designed to meet their individual needs and goals for addiction recovery with drug rehab Los Angeles. Our treatment programs are built to provide patients with comprehensive treatment methods including evidence-based therapy approaches, counseling, alternative therapies, holistic therapies, and family therapy sessions and healing. Our goal through our individualized treatment programs is to provide you with the appropriate tools for achieving and maintaining long-term recovery. Our extended levels of care support patients through every stage of their recovery process from detox, inpatient rehab, outpatient treatment, and aftercare programs that ensure you have the appropriate levels of care and support to find your new path to a life in sobriety, health and wellness. Navigating the complexities of insurance for addiction treatment can be overwhelming, but it’s an essential step in your journey towards recovery. It’s important to understand what your insurance plan covers to make informed decisions about your treatment options. At Muse Treatment, we accept a variety of insurance plans such as Kaiser Insurance Coverage.


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Josh Chandler
Josh Chandler
After growing up in Chicago and North Carolina, Josh chose to get help with substance use disorder and mental health in California because of the state's reputation for top-tier treatment. There, he found the treatment he needed to achieve more than five years of recovery. He's been in the drug and alcohol addiction rehab industry for four years and now serves as the Director of Admissions for Resurgence Behavioral Health. Josh remains passionate about the field because he understands that one phone call can alter the course of a person's life.

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