Can you overdose on weed? While there has never been a single recorded death from a cannabis overdose, there is such a thing as taking too much.
Can You Overdose On Weed: The Highlights
- There are no recorded deaths from cannabis overdose in the entire history of mankind.
- Taking too much weed can cause sweats, vomiting, paranoia and excessive sleeping, but is never fatal.
- Certain methods of consumption make it more likely to accidentally take too much weed. Edibles and extracts are examples.
- It would require consuming 40,000 times the normal amount of cannabis to result in a fatal overdose.
- The reason it is not fatal to consume cannabis but can be fatal to consume opioids is that cannabis does not affect vital functions of the body.
Can You Overdose On Weed?
The answer to this question all depends on how you would like to define the word “overdose”. There are many common intoxicants of everyday life including caffeine, sugar, and tobacco.
However, for the most part, it is extremely unlikely for a fatal overdose to occur with these substances. With that being said, most of us have experienced something like a caffeine or sugar overdose at some point in our lives.
Whether we’ve had too many cups of coffee and ended up severely thirsty and dizzy, or consumed too much sugar and been left with a stomach ache, these are signs of having taken too much.
The same kind of reasoning applies to weed overdoses. Taking too much can definitely elicit an unwanted experience, such as the sweats, dizziness, and perhaps vomiting.
But it is so unlikely to fatally overdose that it has literally never happened in the history of mankind’s affinity for this plant. So while it is possible to take too much, it is almost impossible to overdose in the strict sense of the word — that is to die from taking too much.
Overdose Or Greening Out?
Greening out is to weed what a hangover is to alcohol. It is essentially the body’s way of saying that you pushed the limits a little too far this time, but don’t worry because it isn’t fatal.
Greening out is what some people would consider being a cannabis overdose, although it is not a lethal one.
Greening out is the result of smoking or eating too much THC. It manifests in different ways for different people. While some people simply become nauseous and vomit, others experience extreme emotional distress, anxiety or paranoia.
Almost all of the time, the symptoms of greening out are short lived and once THC has passed through the system, the person returns to normal with no long term effects.
Obviously, extreme emotional distress can have long-lasting effects, and this is why in some extreme cases, the effects of greening out can be long-lived.
However, they are usually the emotional side effects of having a profoundly alarming experience rather than physically threatening the health of a person. And of course, this occurs only in rare circumstances, such as if a vulnerable person with a predisposition to psychosis has a greening out experience.
How Much Weed Is Too Much Weed?
There are also multiple other factors involved, such as a person’s predisposition to fainting, and anxiety. The person’s tolerance for cannabis also needs to be taken into account.
For one person, a few puffs of a joint is enough to be considered too much. For another person, it is easy to smoke multiple joints without greening out or having a bad experience.
So how much weed is too much?
It’s really hard to say. This is why it is not recommended for beginners to experiment with dabbing and to be extremely delicate with dosage.
Can A Weed Overdose Be Lethal?
A weed overdose cannot be lethal. There has never once, in the entire history of mankind, been a reported death from cannabis.
The reason it is virtually impossible to overdose on cannabis is that THC potency simply isn’t strong enough to affect vital physiological functions such as respiration or heartbeat.
Even if a person greens out, their vital organs are not affected. This is contrary to alcohol or opioid consumption, for example, which affect the function of our most vital organs.
It would require consuming 40,000 times the normal amount of cannabis to produce a lethal effect. Some compare this to smoking a joint the size of the empire state building or smoking 40,000 joints with almost 1 gram of weed in each.
Oh – and it would have to be consumed within 15 minutes. So now you are beginning to understand why it is nearly impossible to consume such a copious amount of THC.
What’s interesting is that while this is virtually impossible with smoking, it might not be impossible with extracts. A person can consume 1 gram of pure THC quite quickly these days, thanks to the near purity of extracts.
However, while it’s possible to overdose on a THC extract, it still remains an event so unlikely, that we virtually consider it impossible.
Symptoms Of A Weed Overdose
When you have accidentally taken too much weed, don’t fear. You are not about to die. In fact, emergency rooms get flooded with people fearing for their lives after consuming too much weed.
It isn’t uncommon, upon the onset of greening out symptoms, to fear for one’s life. With that being said, here are some of the symptoms that you’ve taken too much – but aren’t dying from – weed:
- Increased heart rate
These symptoms of greening out often wear off within a few hours and most people are left laughing at the potent experience they just had.
In fact, it’s hard to find a cannabis enthusiast who hasn’t experienced at least one of these symptoms at least once in their life as a cannabis user.
The point is that there is no definitive guide on how much weed to consume, so it’s not uncommon to take too much by accident. It simply means: use less next time.
Weed Overdose Risk Factors
There are certain factors which make it more likely to overdose on cannabis. In general, overdosing has two risk factors:
- The way that cannabis is consumed (e.g., edible or vaping)
- A person’s sensitivity towards THC
Even for the most seasoned cannabis user, certain consumption methods make it very hard to dose correctly.
For example, homemade edibles are usually shrouded in a huge question mark when it comes to how much THC is in the actual edible. Plus, it can take a long time for edibles to take effect, luring the user into taking more without realizing that they have already taken enough.
The same is true for dabbing, where a large amount of THC can be consumed in a single hit. This is thanks to the near purity of certain extracts, which reach over 80% THC sometimes.
Dabbing delivers a huge hit of THC rapidly, and much faster than our parents and their parents were ever accustomed to. Plus, dabbing delivers a hit of THC much higher than we would ever get using botanical material such as buds.
Finally, a person’s sensitivity to THC is a huge risk factor. Some people may retain a THC sensitivity for life, even after a lot of cannabis use. However, many will develop weed tolerance.
In general, the most THC sensitive people are those who have never used cannabis products before. The very unusual experience can spiral a person into a state of anxiety and perhaps even paranoia, resulting in a greening-out experience.
Is Eating Edibles A Weed Overdose Risk Factor?
Without sugar coating it, yes, eating edibles is a weed overdose risk factor, and we’re going to explain why.
When cannabis is consumed via inhalation, the effects are immediate. It means that before a person continues to smoke or vape, they can decide if they need more or not.
Unfortunately, edibles don’t offer the same leniency.
Edibles take a long time to take effect. For some people, it can take up to 2 hours for a THC edible to take effect. During the time that edibles are passing through the digestive system, many people are tempted to eat more and often do.
Before you know it, all the THC consumed takes effect in a single moment and the experience is all too much.
As a general rule of thumb, a person should wait at least 4 hours before consuming more edibles if they think that the effects are too mild. Four hours after consumption, THC blood levels should be at their highest, and this is a good time to decide whether the effects should be stronger.
If yes, a person should not take as much as their initial dose. Cannabis is also more psychedelic and potent when consumed in edible form.
Weed Overdose Treatment
In general, there’s no real way to make a weed overdose “go away”. There’s no real treatment for it other than time.
However, doctors and emergency room nurses are constantly confronted with the over-the-top, I’m-going-to-die kind of green out. And of course, they have their ways of dealing with the matter.
When a person is experiencing symptoms of anxiety and confusion, a treatment method might be sedation. Giving mild sedatives to people freaking out on weed is common in emergency rooms.
It is not a way of getting rid of the overdose, but rather just calming a person until the effects of cannabis wear off.
If a person is experiencing nausea, an antiemetic treatment can be administered. This simply helps them to stop feeling terribly nauseous and perhaps stop any vomiting taking place.
Perhaps the hardest overdose to treat is the appearance of psychosis. In this circumstance, a person literally cannot comprehend that what is happening to them is the result of multiple chemical reactions taking place in their brain and body.
They may be completely consumed by delusions about what is happening to them.
This is difficult because it can even be hard to get a person to take a sedative. In a state of psychosis, a person may be a danger to themselves or others, so perhaps observation is the only real way of ensuring everybody’s safety.
How To Avoid A Weed Overdose
The answer is simple, cannabis enthusiasts: be gentle with yourself!
When you purchase cannabis edibles, extracts or buds, it shouldn’t be a race to see who can consume it all the fastest. In fact, cannabis is best enjoyed in smaller doses, before getting to the point of complete green-out or couch-lock.
The best way to avoid a weed overdose is to be gentle when dosing yourself. If you want more, you can always take more. But once you’ve taken too much, it’s virtually impossible to go back!
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