Can You Overdose From Consuming Cannabis?

Helga Green
Helga Green

Helga Green, an enthusiast and researcher in the cannabis field, contributes her expertise to the AskGrowers blog. Her articles provide a comprehensive view of cannabis cultivation, health impacts, and educational information. Helga's works seamlessly blend practical advice for growing plants with broader information aimed at enlightening readers about cannabis. Her health-focused articles delve into the effects of cannabis on the human body, offering valuable knowledge to her audience. Helga's passion for the industry shines through in her informative and engaging content, making her a go-to source for anyone interested in the multifaceted world of cannabis.

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Can You Overdose From Consuming Cannabis?
This article is not intended to be used as a medical guide for self-medication. If you need professional help, visit your GP!

More often than not, the pro-cannabis individuals will advocate that it is the safest drug out there which comes with a hoard of medicinal benefits too. There is no denying the fact that cannabis prepared with compounds derived from Sativa strains of cannabis is nothing less than an elixir for patients who have cancer and other fatal diseases. Yes, patients who experience acute, chronic aches, primarily due to chemotherapy, can rely upon cannabis.

However, the medicinal advantages of marijuana lure individuals into believing that it is completely safe, no matter how much you consume. What you don’t know is that marijuana overdose is a thing that happens due to overconsumption. The number of severe health issues an overdose of cannabis can bring along may surprise you. Then again, the side effects caused by marijuana overdose have never led to fatal consequences.

Read along to discover more about when and how you can experience the cannabis side effects and what you should do in such situations.

What Leads to Cannabis Overdose?

The first question that might have crossed your mind is how much of it is too much for the human body. Determining the amount of marijuana that can cause an overdose is a tricky business because it depends upon an individual’s capacity and resistance. The resistance can range from a beginner to a seasoned stoner.

For instance, if you are new to marijuana consumption, 1-5 grams of marijuana is enough for you. If you end up consuming more cannabis than this, you will suffer the side effects of an overdose. Therefore, avoid consuming edibles and stick with vape and smoking until you become accustomed to the effect.

As for intermediate users who have their ways of managing the high but are still learning, 5-20 grams is the permissible consumption. Anything more than this can send them into transcendence for longer than they can handle.


Read Also: Full Cannabis Dosage Guide: Flowers, Edibles, and Everything Else


The problem usually arises with seasoned users who believe that they can handle any amount of weed. But, what they do not know is even their bodies have a limit of handling sedation, so they should not consume more than 20-35 grams in one go. If they do, they will have to face the adverse impacts of overdose.

Also, the overdose depends upon the content of an active compound called THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) in your weed. It defines the potency of a substance. Make sure that you smoke, ingest, or vaporize marijuana, which is balanced and not too high in THC.

What Happens When You Overdose on Marijuana?

There are over 100 active compounds in cannabis that render each concentrate, edible and strain its unique properties. While the most sedating and active amongst them is THC, others have unique impacts on your system too. Therefore, the result of overdose varies according to the cannabinoids compound you have been consuming the most.

The common symptoms that will help you discover that you have had too much of marijuana include unusually rapid heart rate, intense breathing pattern, hallucinations, a sudden drop in blood pressure, and severe anxiety attacks. The next time you are planning to get high, look out for these symptoms so that you can stop while there is time. If the situation gets out of your hands, do not hesitate from calling 911 right away.

Common Symptoms of Cannabis Overdose

More often than not, it is the excess of THC in weed that results in overdose, apart from overconsumption of edibles. Here are a few cases which are the result of the psychoactive effects of THC.

Paranoid Behavior

Whether you refer to it as psychosis, polarity, or paranoia; a vast number of individuals who have visited the emergency in the past few years have had hallucinations due to overconsumption. Needless to say, all these visions have been negatively associated with their lives and make them go deeper in sorrow. When the body is in deep sorrow or stress, the metabolism slows down further, causing the THC to show its extended effects.

Uncontainable Vomiting

The anti-nauseate properties of THC might work in the opposite direction when you combine it with overdose, and you might end up vomiting your intestines out in the sink. Then again, its impact can be lessened with a hot shower.

Heart Arrhythmias

When you consume too much cannabis, your heart is bound to face the consequences. Many scientists argue that the effect of cannabis on the human heart is under-reported. However, since your heart is found working weirdly after excessive consumption of alcohol too, it is difficult to point the finger at THC alone.

Do Edibles Serve a Higher Risk of Overdose?

Yes, the method of consumption makes a huge difference when it comes to cannabis and ingesting edibles is the most challenging amongst them. This is because the edibles come in the form of delectable treats which take some time to reach the digestive system and show their effect. Therefore, you might end up eating way too much waiting for the high to hit you.

Edibles Overdose

Even though the overdose is accidental, it can be challenging to overcome. The situation becomes worse if you have pets and kids around. Make sure the edibles are stored away from them.

The best way to consume marijuana goodies is to use the sublingual channel. When you place the piece of chocolate under your tongue, the intense network of nerves will send the effect of THC directly to your brain. Now that you will experience the high within a few minutes, you will not be tempted to eat more of them.

What Should You Do in Case of Marijuana Overdose?

When you realize that you have consumed way too much marijuana that you can handle, call 911. If you have someone near you, you should ask them to take you to the emergency room. Ensure that your companion is not high on the drug before you let them drive all the way to the hospital.

If you are not experiencing the overdose, but your companion is, make sure that you stay with them till you hand them over to medical professionals. Another crucial step in such situations is to administer CPR in case the intoxicated individual is finding it difficult to breathe.

Can Marijuana Overdose Kill You?

While there is no clear evidence that marijuana overdose can cause the death of a person, there have been instances where people have lost their lives due to severe intoxication. Mostly, it is the patients who have pre-existing cardiovascular and neurological conditions who suffer the wrath of excessive consumption. This is because their bodies are not able to handle the pressure THC puts on the system.

Risk for Patients

According to a few cases reported by the National Institute of Drug Abuse or NIDA, there have been cases that THC had induced deaths in the past. The extreme confusion, panic attacks, acute shortage of cognitive intelligence, and emotional turmoil can lead to the creation of circumstances due to which you may die.

Then again, if you are a perfect, or even moderately, healthy individual, a marijuana overdose is not likely to kill you. If you feel like you have smoked too much and nothing can help you, you should call 911 for immediate assistance.

Mostly, the deaths which occur due to overdose of marijuana, occur in individuals who consume highly potent cannabis (high in THC content). One example of such deaths can be a 2014 case where a 19-year-old resident of Colorado was discovered dead because he consumed too much cannabis and jumped off the building. It was later found that the effects of marijuana made him lose his senses and control over movement, and he ended up dead.

Which Age Groups Are Worst Hit by Marijuana Consumption?

The legalization of marijuana plays an important role in the increase of emergency cases due to the overconsumption of marijuana, and a huge percentage of these cases involves children below five years of age. Shocking right? Children cannot differentiate between regular desserts and marijuana edibles and end up consuming them since the body of a child responds differently to marijuana than that of an adult. This can make matters worse.

Apart from children, young adults are adversely hit by the effects of synthetic marijuana like Spice or K2. This was discovered when 87% of patients who reported to emergency due to drug abuse were found to be consuming synthetic cannabis for recreation.

You can be hit by the side-effects of overdose too if you mix it with alcohol. Yes, cannabis alone is not as harmful to the human body as to when they are mixed with a hard alcoholic drink such as whiskey. Other than that, mixing marijuana with other hard drugs such as cocaine and heroin can be a recipe for death too because that will increase your heart rate rapidly, leading to cardiac arrest.

While death is too severe a term to use for the health effects of laced marijuana, its consumption can definitely lead to disturbance in heart rate and blood pressure, requiring immediate medical attention.

How Can You Treat Marijuana Overdose?

If you are looking for an antidote to marijuana overdose in this answer, you will not find any because none exists. It can only be resolved by timely medical attention.

When you visit the emergency room, you will discover that the medical professional will decide whether the patient required in-patient treatment or outpatient therapy.

In-Patient Therapy

In the case of in-patient therapy, the doctors hold the patient for at least 24 hours to administer treatment required to treat panic attacks, psychosis, or paranoia. This requires patients to stay at the rehab for 30 to 90 days till they are fully recovered. For this period, they undergo regular therapy sessions.

As for patients for outpatient treatment, they are required to visit the doctor for 1 to 2 hours for the coming couple of weeks for therapy. This is a lower level of care, usually used for beginners who have overdosed on marijuana accidentally.

What Can You Do to Prevent Marijuana Overdose?

Now that you are aware that marijuana overdose is a real concern, you should focus on the ways you can prevent it. We have enlisted a few practices that will help you consume only the amounts of marijuana that you can handle.

Abstain From Consuming Cannabis

Even if some governments are legalizing marijuana use, it does not imply that you have to give it a shot. After all, it is a Schedule 1 drug that is mostly advised against by doctors for recreational purposes. Then again, if you find it difficult to give up on marijuana, you can always control the amount of consumption by lowering it.

Say No to Laced Cannabis

Often, sellers will try to sell you cannabis laced with hard drugs such as cocaine and heroin, which can have a worse effect on you. Therefore, stay away from mixing two types of drugs or marijuana with alcohol.

Stay Hydrated

Keep Drinking Water

Smoking cannabis can rid you of moisture from your body. Therefore, it is crucial that you keep on the drinking water time and again as the amount of water dilutes the compounds and they pass through the urinary channel.

Seek Advice From Your Doctor

We understand that you are more interested in seeking high from marijuana. However, if you suffer from cardiovascular or neurological disorders, you should stick to your doctor’s advice if you are planning to consume marijuana. Also, if you feel like you are addicted to marijuana, you should opt for a rehabilitation specialist’s help to leave marijuana.

Conclusion

To conclude, there may be a lot of reasons for overdose, such as if you are a beginner, consuming edibles with high THC potency, and if you end up consuming high doses. All of them can be avoided if you are well aware of the severe impacts of excessive marijuana on your health. So, exercise every precaution possible if you want the high to be an enjoyable experience.

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