Marijuana Overdose: Myth or Possibility?

Marijuana Overdose: Is it possible to overdose on marijuana?

marijuana overdose women laying on floor

That’s a frequent and much publicized question. Additionally, many of those new to using cannabis are also curious about marijuana deaths and horror stories concerning friends-turned-vegetable from massive-doses and high frequency of THC consumption.

Stories about marijuana overdose are made popular and inaccurate from circulation among friends or websites that rely on spectacle to engage their readers. But, generally speaking, these stories are just that—stories.

Can you overdose on marijuana?

When it comes to using marijuana, there is certainly such a thing as taking too much—although this amount that’s “too much” is not lethal, and will vary from person to person depending on their THC tolerance. Tolerance can be higher or lower in individuals based on their frequency and quantity of marijuana use.

So, whereas it might not lead to an overdose per se, large doses of THC can have some very unpleasant side effects (which are discussed in the following section). To avoid over-consumption of marijuana, the most important part is to ingest it slowly, whether you are consuming cannabis orally or through inhalation. It is also a good idea to exercise additional caution if you do opt for using weed edibles, marijuana tonics, or marijuana tinctures.

Because marijuana edibles are processed through the digestive system, the onset of the marijuana’s effects is delayed, taking up to 1 and 1.5 hours. The effects of oral consumption are also felt more strongly, sometimes with a pseudo-hallucinogenic experience for users. The best approach is to take a little at a time, read instructions on labels, and follow dosage recommendations on commercial weed edibles products.

By contrast, the marijuana high associated with inhalation—methods such as smoking or using marijuana vaporizers—is almost instantaneous and not as long lasting.

Even if you can’t die from marijuana the substance, can you overdose on weed?

Technically, you cannot overdose on marijuana. To overdose on marijuana is virtually impossible because of its low drug toxicity—this is the level at which an ingested dose of a drug’s active ingredients become deadly inside of a person’s system. Marijuana overdoses most closely resemble panic attacks or intense bouts of paranoia, also referred to as episodes of “acute psychosis.” THC-induced psychosis usually clears within 24 hours of last use.

What is cannabis (what is marijuana) and how is it processed in the body?

The active ingredients in marijuana are called cannabinoids. The most well-known cannabinoids are THC and CBD, which have unique psychoactive effects, therapeutic applications and medicinal benefits. Because cannabinoids are processed throughout the body, and not solely where respiration is controlled (on the brainstem), you can never stop breathing from using too much marijuana.

But is marijuana addictive? (Is Weed Addictive?)

Marijuana is not addictive—not in the sense that other drugs, like opioids (such as heroin) or amphetamines (cocaine, speed, methamphetamine), are physiologically and chemically addictive. These other drugs are potentially deadly and highly destructive for those who use them.

Marijuana users can develop a dependency, however, if they have a pre-existing condition or vulnerability—such as mental illness, genetic predisposition, or past history of drug abuse.

 

Sources:

http://www.leafscience.com/2014/08/26/can-you-overdose-on-marijuana/
http://www.newhealthguide.org/Can-You-Overdose-On-Marijuana.html
http://teens.drugabuse.gov/national-drug-facts-week/drug-facts-chat-day-marijuana

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