Can You Overdose On Weed? Understand The Signs


Unlike other substances such as cocaine or heroin, cannabis rarely causes fatal overdoses. However, inexperienced users may quickly unknowingly consume too much, resulting in unpleasant and sometimes serious side effects.

People often think that cannabis is harmless. While it may not have the same risks as opioid overdose or overdosing on other harder drugs, it can have negative consequences.

There is virtually no chance of dying from a cannabis overdose, but severe symptoms affect people who consume too much. Most users have experienced this at least once.

Having too much cannabis is a distressing and unpleasant experience, similar to an overdose, and you should handle it with care.

Here are the tell-tale signs when someone has had too much marijuana, the risks it carries, and how you can prevent it.

Can You Overdose on Cannabis?

It is very unlikely that a cannabis overdose will directly lead to death and there are no known records of marijuana-induced death. However, studies show that heavy cannabis use is more likely to result in the user injuring themselves or someone else, sometimes fatally, especially if they drive under the influence.

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What Are the Signs of a Marijuana Overdose?

Though rarely life-threatening, consuming more THC than you can handle causes uncomfortable and potentially dangerous physical and psychological side effects.

Physical Symptoms

White-out

One of the main symptoms of marijuana intoxication is a malaise called “white-out” or “whitey”.

An individual’s face becomes pale, followed by feelings of dizziness, nausea or vomiting, and even loss of consciousness. Scientists do not currently know why this happens.

Shakes and tremors

While research suggests that cannabis use can be beneficial in treating diseases such as Parkinson’s, which feature tremors as a symptom, some users report that the drug can cause tremors and shakes itself.

There is no scientific research on this subject, but many accounts describe how some users have experienced tremors lasting from seconds to half an hour after having too much weed.

It is plausible that these tremors are due to THC’s stimulating effect on the nervous system or its interaction with dopamine transmitters.

If you find yourself shaking and trembling after consuming marijuana, try to stay calm until your symptoms begin to subside.

Dry mouth

A dry mouth or throat after smoking cannabis is quite common, and it usually does not take much of the drug to cause this effect. This phenomenon is caused by the cannabinoids within marijuana binding to cannabinoid receptors in the submandibular glands, inhibiting the action of compounds that signal saliva production.

It is essential to stay sufficiently hydrated to relieve symptoms of a dry mouth.

Heart problems

Marijuana raises the heart rate and can cause arrhythmia. Weed is also responsible for high blood pressure.

According to research, the risk of a heart attack is significantly higher after smoking weed.

Consuming too much THC brings about an increased risk of severe heart issues for individuals with undiagnosed heart disease and underlying medical conditions.

can you overdose on weed

Psychological Symptoms

Anxiety and disorientation

Marijuana use often leads to anxiety and confusion.

Taking large doses of marijuana can induce a sense of extreme distress characterised by difficulty thinking clearly, perceiving time passing slowly, feeling lost in space, having panic attacks, and fearing the effects will not dissipate.

Paranoia

Excessive cannabis consumption can cause paranoia in those who smoke often and inexperienced users alike. Even those who have built up a tolerance to the drug can be affected if they ingest too much THC.

Novice users, however, tend to be more vulnerable to this unpleasant symptom as they are not used to marijuana’s effects.

The impact of cannabis does not hold the same effects for different individuals. Various research has found that if somebody was anxious, depressed, or lacked self-confidence before using the drug, they are more likely to experience paranoia after consuming it.

Psychotic episodes

Psychosis is an umbrella term defining various mental episodes that involve the individual losing contact with reality.

Psychotic episodes often include hallucinations, delusions, troubling and confused thoughts, and a general lack of perspective and self-awareness.

Multiple studies have consistently shown that those who use cannabis products are twice as likely to develop psychosis as those who do not.

Duration of Symptoms

Marijuana overdose symptoms are temporary, usually lasting no more than a few hours.

If your symptoms worsen or you notice breathing difficulties and chest pain, you should treat it as a medical emergency and seek immediate medical assistance.

How Likely Is It To Overdose on Cannabis?

It is unlikely to overdose on weed, but anybody can take too much, particularly those who do not use it regularly as they lack a built-up tolerance and may go beyond the safe limit without knowing.
In addition, the individual’s overall health affects the likeliness of feeling sick after using cannabis products, and psychological issues can amplify symptoms of intoxication.

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What Causes a Marijuana Overdose?

It can be hard to determine the exact causes of a marijuana overdose, or intoxication, as everyone’s reaction to cannabis is different, and not every user knows their limits.

Smoking too much without having a meal beforehand or being dehydrated can intensify feelings of unease and spark an adverse reaction.

Mixing cannabis with alcohol or other drugs makes the effects more pronounced, so it is always best to start slow and see how your body responds.

When using dope, the user should be mindful of dosage levels since they can be hard to monitor and leave you with an unpleasant sensation if you consume more than intended.

Forms of Marijuana and the Risk of Overdose

Cannabis comes in different forms with its own risk of overdose and medical emergencies. Here are the main ways people commonly consume cannabis and the associated overdose risks.

  • Smoking THC – The classic form of marijuana is its dried leaves. People take it by rolling the leaves into cigarettes, using bongs, and vaping. When taken this way, THC from cannabis gets into the blood quickly, so people with lower tolerance can sense the effects faster and learn when to stop. It is unlikely to smoke enough cannabis to reach a lethal dose.
  • Edible THC – Edible THC is the second-most popular way of ingesting marijuana. The dope is consumed as an ingredient in food products such as cakes, brownies and shakes. When ingested in this way, the THC is much more potent than when smoked since it is metabolised through the stomach. Edible weed kicks in much slower, sometimes taking several hours, so those who do not understand tolerance can unintentionally overdo it.
  • Synthetic Weed Overdose – Synthetic cannabinoids are a drug designed to imitate the effects of cannabis. However, they have no relation to the plant and do not have the same effect as THC, the psychoactive ingredient of cannabis. These substances can be very potent and dangerous when taken with other medications like anti-anxiety drugs and alcohol, which could lead to severe health issues or even death. An overdose of synthetic cannabinoids is an emergency and requires medical help.

Can You Die From Overdosing on Weed?

It is almost impossible to fatally overdose on marijuana. However, depending on factors like mental and physical health, the amount of weed ingested, and any other drugs involved, one can experience various side effects.

If you take synthetic cannabinoids and combine them with alcohol or anti-anxiety medications, then an overdose is possible.

What to Do if You or a Friend Have a Marijuana Overdose?

If you or someone close to you is sick after using weed, the best thing to do is go somewhere safe and rest. There is no marijuana overdose treatment. For most people, the effects of excessive marijuana consumption will subside with time.

Show support and be there for them until they feel better – weed can make regular activities more dangerous.

If symptoms worsen, intense chest pain is present or the individual is displaying disturbing symptoms such as paranoia or psychosis, seek medical help immediately.

Preventing a Weed Overdose

The safest way to prevent overdose is to refrain from using cannabis. However, if you do use it, always stay hydrated, eat well before ingesting it and try to be around other people in case you have worrying symptoms. Also, never combine marijuana with any other illegal drugs or medications.

Why Is Understanding Individual Tolerance Important in Preventing a Marijuana Overdose?

Understanding individual tolerance to marijuana is critical to avoiding the negative consequences of its use. Almost all overdoses and other adverse reactions are due to users being unaware of what their body can handle and how it reacts to cannabis, thus exceeding their thresholds.

Having Issues Controlling Your Cannabis Intake?

Though many consider marijuana use harmless, chronic marijuana use is a form of drug abuse and can lead to marijuana addiction – the inability to limit or reduce intake even though using it is impacting the user’s life negatively.

It may be time to seek help and explore treatment options if all that sounds familiar.
Addiction treatment will remove cannabis toxicity from your body, help you break free from addiction, and understand what drove you to it in the first place.

If you are concerned about your cannabis use, the follow test may help you identify a problem.

Treatment for Cannabis Addiction

At Castle Craig, cannabis addiction is treated with a comprehensive, evidence-based strategy. Our treatment programme combines cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), 12-step therapy, and other tailored psychotherapeutic interventions to address both the physical and psychological facets of the addiction. If deemed necessary, patients will undergo detox to remove marijuana toxicity from the body completely, followed by therapy sessions to identify and confront the triggers, behaviours, and underlying causes that may be contributing to their addiction. Individual counselling, group therapy, and holistic therapies such as mindfulness and relaxation techniques are also integrated to ensure a well-rounded recovery process.

Castle Craig’s dedicated team is committed to guiding you towards a life free from addiction. If you or a loved one is struggling with cannabis addiction, don’t hesitate – reach out to us today and take the first step towards a brighter, addiction-free future.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Overdose on Cannabis?

It is impossible to fatally overdose on cannabis, yet it is possible to consume too much and experience a wide range of adverse and sometimes serious medical problems such as high blood pressure, heart attack and psychological distress.

Can You Die From a Weed Overdose?

You will probably not die from consuming too much marijuana, but it can be dangerous and even life-threatening if you have underlying health issues.

Can You Overdose on Edible Weed?

Too much of an edible cannabis product can leave you feeling dizzy and unwell. It may also induce or exacerbate mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

How Much Weed Causes an Overdose?

Though it is nearly impossible to fatally overdose on cannabis, consuming high amounts of the drug can cause serious and sometimes dangerous physical or mental health issues.

References

  1. The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids: The Current State of Evidence and Recommendations for Research.
  2. Cannabis (medical marijuana) treatment for motor and non-motor symptoms of Parkinson disease: an open-label observational study
  3. Chronic Cannabis Intoxication and Propofol-Induced Salivation: Causes and Considerations
  4. Heart Health
  5. How cannabis causes paranoia: using the intravenous administration of ∆9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) to identify key cognitive mechanisms leading to paranoia.

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