Marijuana ( pot, weed, or cannabis) may have a reputation for being a benign drug, but one can develop symptoms of overdose from using too much of it. Although it is less dangerous than other oft-abused drugs, even the best marijuana strains are not completely safe because of the chances of marijuana intoxication.
Is it Possible to Overdose on Marijuana?
While it may be less toxic than other drugs of abuse, one could od on weed when one uses too much of it. Although marijuana overdoses have not been shown to cause death directly, it may cause very severe, uncomfortable symptoms such as vomiting, nausea, psychotic reactions (delusions and hallucinations) and anxiety which may require a visit to the emergency room.
Pot overdose can occur with any methods of using the drug. However, in preteens and teens, overdose is most commonly associated with eating marijuana edibles. This is because it takes longer for one to start experiencing the effects of marijuana, so in an attempt to get high faster, these individuals tend to ingest large amounts of pot. This results in marijuana edible overdose symptoms.
However, adults who smoke the substance especially extracts like marijuana shatter are more likely to develop toxic symptoms because of its fast delivery to the brain.
How Much Weed Can Cause Overdose
How much marijuana does it take to overdose? The truth is: The answer is still up in the air. There is no fixed amount that is enough to cause marijuana poisoning. How much weed will cause overdose varies for different individuals. It depends on several factors including an individual’s tolerance levels, body size, and use with other drugs of abuse.
Is It Possible for Marijuana Overdose to Cause Death?
Is marijuana toxicity deadly? The answer to that question is no. Overdosing on weed is unlikely to cause death directly because tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) receptors are not present in the brainstem – the part of the brain that controls and regulates the heart rate and respiration – therefore, it is unlikely to cause death.
However, here does the question how does Marijuana affect the brain come in. Weed overdose can cause death indirectly through its effects on the brain., For example, when a user drives under the influence of THC overdose, such person may experience incoordination, as well as impaired judgment and perception which may predispose them to accidents, injuries, and, in turn, death.
Also, excessive use of cannabis could lead to emotional and psychological disturbances which could present as paranoia and suicidal tendencies.
Some studies also show that one would have to consume about 40,000 times the usual dose of weed in one cannabis cigarette to die from it. In other words, this would require a smoker to consume nearly 1,500 lbs. (680 kg) of pot in 15 minutes to cause a fatal outcome.
However, THC poisoning from consuming too much weed in combination with other drugs of abuse, such as opioids and alcohol, may accentuate the effects of some of these drugs, causing death. Under these circumstances also, some of these drugs may cause severe heart disturbances and blood pressure changes that could cause death.
Similarly, people also wonder: does weed cause cancer? The truth here also is that scientists have not established a link between smoking pot and getting cancer.
Signs and Symptoms of Weed Overdose
When a person uses too much cannabis, it may lead to a temporary array of cannabis overdose symptoms, and the individual is said to “green out.” These symptoms last a couple of hours and resolve spontaneously afterward. It is important to note that these symptoms do not result in permanent disability or death and are more common in new users or old users who had more than enough.
Some of the signs and symptoms of cannabis overdose include:
- Fast heart rate
- Pupil dilation
- Shortness of breath
- Mood changes
- Increased appetite
- Vomiting and/or nausea
- Temporary feelings of paranoia and anxiety
- Altered sense of perception, such as seeing bright colors.
Risk Factors for Weed Overdose
There are certain factors that determine how much weed an individual’s body can handle before a person can develop overdose symptoms. These risk factors influence how pot is metabolized in the body and, in turn, how long it stays in the system. Some of these factors include:
- The frequency of use: It goes without saying that the more frequently a person uses weed, the more the substance accumulates in the body. This is because cannabis binds to fat cells in the body. Therefore if an individual uses it frequently, it stores up continuously and takes longer to get rid of from the body. This poses a higher risk of developing the negative effects of marijuana.
- The amount taken: The larger the amount of cannabis consumed, the longer it stays in the system and the higher the risk of od from weed. The dose in marijuana tinctures is often small, so it is not commonly associated with overdose, unless if consumed in large quantities.
- Route of administration: Cannabis reaches the system much faster when it is smoked or vaped using marijuana pens than through other methods of use. This way, people who smoke the substance are more likely to develop toxic symptoms.
- Weight and body type: People who are overweight or obese will eliminate pot from the at a much slower rate compared to those who have normal weights. This is because THC, the active ingredient of cannabis, deposits in fat cells. This results in a much longer duration in the system for overweight or obese persons. This also may also not make such individuals detox marijuana fast.
- The rate of metabolism: The liver’s rate of breaking down chemicals differs between people. There are slow metabolizers and fast metabolizers. Slow metabolizers of pot break down the substance slowly unlike fast metabolizers. Therefore, in slow metabolizers of weed, the substance stays for a long period and increases the risk of thc overdose.
These factors also affect how long does thc stay in the urine.
Helping Someone with Weed Overdose
If you come in contact with someone with suspected cannabis overdose, take the following steps to save the person’s life.
- Call 911 or a local drug helpline for treatments of substance addicts immediately
- Stay with the person until emergency help arrives
- Ensure the person remains well hydrated.
- Avoid confronting the person, to avoid inciting aggressive behavior in the individual.
Such individuals will be referred to drug abuse rehab facilities to help them detox from the substance.
If you or any of your loved one uses marijuana and needs drug counseling or more information on cannabis use, call our 24/7 helpline on (888)-459-5511 to speak to a representative.