CAN YOU OVERDOSE ON WEED?
Can you have TOO MUCH weed/marijuana/cannabis? And HOW much is TOO much?
If you smoke enough weed to get very high, you will likely feel sick, start to hallucinate, and lose your balance — but you won’t die. So why do so many people think they can overdose on weed? It’s partly because you can have an adverse reaction to marijuana, just like any other substance.
But even if those things don’t happen, smoking enough weed can make you feel like crap. That doesn’t mean it will kill you — but it does mean that it’s not healthy for your body to consume so much THC all at once (or at all).
What is a Cannabis Overdose and how to Recognize it?
When someone overdoses on any substance, there are usually some tell-tale signs that something is wrong. If the person in question starts acting bizarrely or in a way that seems inappropriate for their situation, there’s a good chance they’re suffering from an overdose.
This is especially true for more dangerous drugs like heroin or cocaine, where users often experience unconsciousness and death. But marijuana doesn’t have any of these symptoms — making it difficult to recognize when someone has overdosed on cannabis rather than just gotten high from smoking too much pot at once.
Since there’s no medical classification for a “marijuana overdose” or uniform set of symptoms, it’s difficult to say what someone overdosing on weed looks like.
Possible marijuana overdose signs and symptoms include:
- Chest pain
- Rapid heartbeat
- Nausea and vomiting
- Seeing or hearing things that aren’t really there
- Feeling as if you are not yourself or that you might die
- Trouble breathing
- Severe anxiety and panic attacks
The effects of ingesting marijuana in the form of an edible (also known as "baked goods") or a drink may continue for several hours, while those of smoking the drug can last anywhere from one to four hours. Edibles tend to cause more overdoses because of the lag in effects and how the body processes them.
The best way to get through a cannabis overdose is to follow these steps:
- Try to relax and avoid further stimulation. Lay back and focus on your breathing. This keeps your attention on your breathing and doesn’t allow your mind to wander and cause panic.
- Eat food. A simple snack will help you to continue to relax and refocus.
- Drink water. Smoking marijuana often leaves us with a dry mouth. Having access to water will help you relax your body and focus on wellness.
- Sleep. Taking a breath nap will help relax the body while waiting for a reaction to end.
While an overdose on marijuana is not possible, it is essential to understand how somebody will respond to smoking marijuana.
In addition, you need to be aware of the fact that other substances can cause an overdose. For instance, mixing cocaine with marijuana, often called “tranq,” has been known to cause fatalities.
Is there a difference between taking too much CBD and too much THC?
CBD is generally considered safe, and the risks of taking too much are much lower than with THC. However, CBD products can be improperly labeled. They may contain more CBD or THC than advertised or be contaminated with other chemicals — which can lead to a bad reaction.
High doses of CBD can cause upset stomach, rash, and drowsiness.
Finally, CBD can interact with medications and affect how they’re broken down in the body — particularly medications that have a grapefruit warning.
What’s the difference between smoking THC and eating an edible with THC in it?
Smoked THC can kick in within minutes, while edible THC can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours to kick in. In fact, it may take up to 4 hours for you to feel the full effects of edibles, and those effects can last up to 12 hours. Many overdoses happen because people eat an edible and don’t feel anything at first and then take another dose thinking they need more.
Even if a smoked cannabis product and an edible cannabis product contain the same amount of THC, the edible can still cause a stronger high. That’s because when you eat or drink THC, your liver processes it and converts it into a more powerful molecule.
How much marijuana is OK to take?
The right dose of cannabis is different for each person. It depends on your experience with cannabis and how often you use it, among other factors. A daily consumer might have no problem with a dose that would cause a new consumer to overdose.
When it comes to controlling your THC intake, start with a low dose, and increase that dose if it’s not effective. Remember: There’s not a quick way to “come down” if you take too much. So it’s better to take a series of small doses than start with a large one.
The bottom line
It’s possible to take too much cannabis, but an overdose is unlikely to be life threatening. If you do overdose, you simply have to wait for the effects to wear off. Self-care techniques can make the experience more bearable.
Keeping an eye on your THC intake can help prevent an overdose. Experts recommend starting at an oral dose of between 1 mg and 2.5 mg for edibles and one puff of a few milligrams of THC for smoked cannabis.
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