Substance Use

What is Greening Out? Mixing Weed with Alcohol

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Greening Out: Mixing Weed With Alcohol

When you mix marijuana and alcohol, you can experience what many call “greening out” — an unpleasant, sometimes frightening experience. These two substances are often consumed together, increasing the effects of marijuana and alcohol. However, not all people react the same. 

For some, the greening-out experience is brief. For others, it can be lengthy and overwhelming. Some common symptoms of greening out include vomiting, nausea, sweating, and dizziness. If you often experience adverse effects from alcohol or marijuana, it may be time to seek professional assistance. 

Zinnia Health helps thousands nationwide regain control over their substance use issues and mental health concerns. If you or your loved one are abusing drugs, alcohol, or a combination and are seeking professional, evidence-based support, Zinnia can help. Please get in touch with our dedicated team to learn about the next step.

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What Is Greening Out?

“Greening out” or “crossfading” refers to the experience that can occur following the combination of alcohol and marijuana. These substances influence depressant effects on the central nervous system. While a “green out” is most common among alcohol consumers who aren’t used to the effects of weed, it can happen to anyone regardless of how the substances are consumed together.

Users can also green out without alcohol, which results from cannabis toxicity. This toxic reaction is a form of overdose after consuming too much marijuana

When alcohol is involved, the cause of this experience is related to alcohol’s effect on tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) — the primary psychoactive component in cannabis. If people smoke marijuana after consuming alcohol, they often have a stronger high.

This increased THC absorption can cause some users:

  • Anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Extreme paranoia

How Long Does This Experience Last?

The duration of a greening-out experience will significantly vary depending on several factors. Some people will only experience greening-out symptoms for a few minutes, while others will feel sick and anxious for hours.

It’s not uncommon to green out for the full duration of one’s high. When smoking weed, the effects typically last one to three hours. When consumed as edibles, the effects can last up to 10+ hours.

Can You Stop Greening Out?

A greening-out experience will significantly differ from one individual to the next. Once symptoms develop, you cannot stop the experience — most need to allow time to pass. The best thing you can do is to prevent this experience in the future.

Be proactive and understand the situations that typically lead to this experience, including the following:

  • Not knowing your tolerance for marijuana
  • Going above the amount you’d normally consume
  • Consuming alcohol before taking marijuana (smoking or consuming edibles)
  • Consuming marijuana on an empty stomach

When consuming too much marijuana (and high levels of THC), your body’s natural endocannabinoids can become overwhelmed. Whether you’ll experience a green-out will depend on physiology, tolerance, and the potency of the cannabis. 

Steps That May Help During a Green Out

If you’re greening out, it’s recommended that you take the following steps:

  1. Find a safe, calming space with a familiar person you trust.

    This individual can help manage any distressing psychological symptoms. If you take other substances, like opioids or stimulants, be open with that individual so they can help you remain safe. Combining substances can cause various adverse effects. So, if you need medical assistance, healthcare providers need to know what you took. 
  2. Reduce the overall amount of stimulation by dimming lights or reducing sound levels.

    Be mindful of the warning signs of alcohol poisoning, as too much alcohol can be life-threatening. 
  3. Try to boost your blood sugar with food or fruit juice. Sip on water to ride out the high. 

    The length and severity of the effects of a green out will depend on blood alcohol levels, the absorption of THC, other health conditions, etc. For example, an increased heart rate could become dangerous for someone with a pre-existing condition, or someone with schizophrenia could experience worsening symptoms. 

If substance abuse is causing issues in your life, including more frequent adverse reactions and events, it’s time to consider help. Please call our team at (855) 430-9439 to take the next steps. You can also learn more about the treatment process and therapy options, including detox, inpatient, and outpatient treatment options. 

The Risks of Marijuana and Alcohol Use 

Marijuana is the most commonly used illegal substance in the United States. As states nationwide continue to legalize this substance, the perception of how harmful it can be is declining. However, significant risks are associated with marijuana abuse, especially among young adults and at-risk individuals, such as nursing or pregnant women. 

Data reported by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) shows approximately one in ten people who use marijuana become addicted. Those who begin abusing marijuana before age 18 face an increased risk — one in six. 

When frequently combined with alcohol, the potential risk factors grow. In 2021, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) estimated that 29.5 million Americans ages 12 and older were living with alcohol use disorder. Since marijuana and alcohol are often taken together, greening out is a phenomenon that can happen to any user at any time. 

A recent review published by the National Library of Medicine found that 82% of young adults ages 19 to 30 use alcohol, and 42% report marijuana use. The researchers noted that those who take both substances, particularly at the same time, increase their risk of overlapping effects.

Not only do these users increase their risk of greening out, but cannabis use disorder and alcohol use disorder often overlap. Over 86% of individuals with a history of cannabis use disorder also meet the criteria for alcohol use disorder.

Zinnia Health Can Help

Since alcohol is legal and marijuana is becoming increasingly legal across the United States, many users don’t recognize how dangerous these substances can be. Abusing these substances can lead to significant health, financial, and relationship issues.

The longer you continue using alcohol and marijuana in large or frequent doses, the greater your risk of greening out or worse — an increased risk of being seriously or fatally injured in an accident

Seeking help for substance abuse can seem overwhelming. However, once you partner with a professional, compassionate treatment center, you’ll see how rewarding the process can be. As you get well, you’ll begin to recognize the negative effect substance abuse has on you and those who love you most. Rest assured that recovery is well within reach.

If you’re ready to take the next step, Zinnia Health is here to help. Whether you recently greened out or are concerned about your current alcohol and marijuana consumption habits, taking the first step today could be life-changing. Contact the Zinnia Health team to discuss treatment options and “heal for good” today.

Call us
Ready to get help?
(855) 430-9439
Why call us? Why call us