Should you steer clear of weed after a bad experience?

Published Jan 4, 2021 12:00 p.m. ET
iStock / OlegMalyshev

Hollywood is pretty good at making it seem like every person’s first time getting stoned leads them down a soothing and seductive path towards euphoria, but many people don’t have such good luck with cannabis. Bad experiences are more frequent among first-time consumers, but a bit of prior use isn’t enough to completely safeguard you from the possibility of a bad trip. It can happen to anyone.

Unfortunately, on the occasions where a consumer feels adverse effects, it can sometimes be scary or uncomfortable which is enough to make them reconsider touching cannabis or pot-related products, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be that way. One lousy time being stoned doesn’t mean that your chances are ruined for any good times in the future. Instead, it’s much more likely to be an indicator that you’re doing it wrong.

What is a bad experience exactly?

A bad time with cannabis to most would indicate that they felt some sort of adverse effects that made them feel uncomfortable like:

  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Vomiting
  • Headaches
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Impairment

When these adverse effects happen, it can be overwhelming and even terrifying, resulting in what some cannabis enthusiasts refer to as greening out. These are the most frequently reported bad experiences with weed, and they can be felt with varying severity depending on the individual and how much is consumed.

Things that can cause or contribute to a bad experience

The thing about these negative exchanges is that they tend to follow common themes because there is generally a semi controllable cause for the adverse effects, such as:

  • Environment – Often, if a consumer is not getting stoned in a place where they feel comfortable, it can have a negative impact on the high.

  • Emotional state – Those who want to try cannabis but harbour some pretty big concerns about the idea will likely be nervous. Though low THC strains can sometimes help with this, the cannabinoid can also exacerbate already present feelings of anxiety, making them feel worse.

  • Product potency – The average THC content in cannabis strains varies anywhere from 15%-20%. Still, some are far higher, and extracts can take that amount to a whole new level, and sometimes too much THC can trigger the adverse
    effects mentioned above.

  • Type of product – The types of cannabis product used matter for two reasons, including potency, as we just talked about. Still, the way that cannabinoids are consumed can make the most significant difference in the results. Some users do fine with smoking but feel terrible with edibles, and sometimes, it’s just the strain that’s disagreeing with the consumer.


How to avoid “greening out” in the future

If you’ve had a bad experience with cannabis, then you might want to follow a few simple rules, as they can help to ensure that the next time you try to get high, you get more satisfying results.

  1. Start low – With a low THC strain or product.

  2. Go slow – Assume that you might have a low tolerance and increase doses with caution.

  3. Get comfortable – Sometimes, too much stimulation can be a trigger for adverse effects, which is why you should be somewhere that you feel 100% safe, calm and comfortable when you’re getting stoned.

  4. Stay hydrated – Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration, which might contribute to adverse effects.

  5. Eat first – Eat a nutrient-dense meal before you use cannabis, and keep healthy snacks to enjoy if you get hungry again later. This will help you to dull the effects of THC and avoid a sugar crash later.

Is it really worth another shot?

No one wants to spend time and money on feeling awful, but in most cases, it could certainly be worth a second chance under the appropriate circumstances. Most bad experiences with weed stem from a lack of understanding of how cannabis works, leading to overconsumption instances. As long as you follow our guidelines and proceed with all that you’ve learned here in mind, you’ll have a pretty good chance of achieving an enjoyable buzz.

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