Ask An Old Hippie: Why Do I Get Sick When I Get High?
Old Hippie | Oct 30, 2011 | Comments 6
From numerous questions:
I threw up!…in a parking lot, while still in the car. I couldn’t handle it. I feel as though I must be one hell of a lightweight.
I just took maybe 4-5 hits, and immediately after, started feeling really clammy and hot, and after a few minutes, I threw up. How could I prevent this and/or what does it mean?
A: It scares me a bit to hear about some of the youngsters now going deliberately for “ultimate highs” like they’re in some kind of frat contest (cf: “lightweight”). They’re sometimes butting up into tripping territory and don’t realize what they’re doing and how dangerous it can be. Not a week goes by on r/trees or r/saplings without someone (usually someone new to weed) talking about barfing or passing out. That only happened to me once from being too high, in almost 45 years of smoking, and even that was explainable by being dehydrated with low blood sugar.
Feeling clammy, hot, and nauseous are the classic signs of syncope (fainting or passing out). Your blood pressure drops precipitously, and out you go. Marijuana smokers call this “greening out” to distinguish it from alcohol-induced blackouts, which generally last longer and can involve doing things you cannot remember afterwards. Cannabis rarely causes anything this dire, but it’s still no fun.
While it’s possible to be physically allergic to cannabis, it’s relatively rare. Virtually every instance of “greening out” or vomiting has one or more of the following things in common:
- Dehydration. You know how your throat gets dry? Well, using cannabis will suck a lot of moisture right out of your body. If you don’t drink water right along with your smoking to replace it, you’ll experience some effects from that. Depending on your health, they may go unnoticed, or you could find yourself in trouble.
- Overdoing it. Too much too soon, especially for new users, and you’ll be higher than you expected. Suddenly you’re sensitive to everything going on in your body, your mind starts flipping out a bit, and you feel uncomfortable and sick. Sitting in a smoky room or car with no fresh air makes the problem worse, and you’re likely to pass out or puke.
- Slow down! For newbies, one toke no more than every 10 minutes is a good idea, and stop as soon as you feel high enough. Don’t be “peer pressured” into going for a moon shot when you’re not ready. Real friends won’t do this to you.
- Low blood sugar. We all know you’ll get the munchies after smoking, but if your stomach is empty before smoking, the sudden rush of chemicals telling you that you’ve got to eat will also tell your stomach there’s something wrong down there.
- Swallowing smoke. This will often get even experienced smokers in trouble, especially with bongs. When a lot of smoke goes into your stomach rather than your lungs, it often has the nasty and instant effect of making you barf. Pay attention to what you’re doing. If you’re too high to smoke properly, you’re too high!
There was also that little incident back in 1981. So my last warning is if you’re wearing tall lace-up motorcycle boots, don’t make them too tight or they’ll restrict the blood flow, and one joint from Nick’s stash is all it will take for you to pass out in Roy Rogers.
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