The drug marijuana known by other various names such as cannabis, weed, grass, pot, dope, MJ etc. can be used both recreationally and for therapeutic purposes. It has also been rated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as the most abused drug in the U.S especially among the youths. Marijuana which is classified as a schedule one drug because of its high content THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) can be either smoked or consumed orally.
Can you overdose on weed?
The psychotropic effects of marijuana are observed in a shorter duration when smoked than when taken by mouth; these effects are also more predictable hen compared to eating it, however, the effects of the new and modern strains of marijuana has been observed to be overall rising in the last twenty years and this has led to accidental overdosing by marijuana consumers.
In the increasing use of marijuana, various new means of consumption have been developed and one is the ‘dabbing’ technique. It is a process of using concentrates of super critical extracts of cannabis and smoking resins (chemically produced) with high levels of tetrahydrocannabinol. Dabbing is quite dangerous and seems to be responsible for the rise in emergencies associated with marijuana use.
Overdosing on marijuana is a different scenario from overdosing on other medicines because the consumption of marijuana or pot singly poses no negative effect to health neither is it life threatening but it could be when viewed from the point of hazards that could occur from its psychotropic effect which may increase risk of death.
An example is a user who having consumed a large amount of marijuana becomes unaware of his environment and accidentally trips on an object and falling. Also, some studies have linked intoxication resulting from marijuana with psychosis. Psychosis is a state of mind associated with hallucinations, delusion and extreme paranoia. During an episode, those suffering from Psychosis have unknowingly put themselves in harm’s way due to the resulting confusion and detachment from reality felt.
One factor observed with cases of marijuana overdosing is drug mixing. Street dealers of marijuana have been discovered to lace this products with other psychotropic drugs without the users knowing. Some of these adjuncts include crack, PCP or cocaine. Furthermore, some users intentionally lace these drugs together to improve its effects (these drugs mixed could work synergistically) and this practice increases the probability of overdosing and adverse effects.
Typical Marijuana Overdose Symptoms
Overdosing on marijuana seems a herculean task but quite possible. To make this possible, massive amounts would have to be consumed which would equal 40,000 times the amount of THC needed to get high.
For example, if three puffs of marijuana is needed to get a userhigh, a total of 120,000 puffs would be required to overdose.
The tell-tale signs of marijuana over consumption could include:
- Panic attacks;
- Extreme paranoia;
- Mental confusion;
- Rapid heart rate and increase in the risk of heart attack.
When marijuana is laced or mixed with other drugs, the adverse effects spans across strokes, seizures or even irregular heartbeats.
Signs Of Marijuana Use & Abuse
Marijuana overdose is not achieved once by a first time user; it’s a gradual forward process from casual marijuana use to marijuana abuse at which stage addiction-like behaviors are displayed around the drug. Marijuana addiction is displayed by a compulsive feeling to use disregarding its negative impact on the user. Also self-control is lost to this behavior even when the user has plans of quitting or cutting down on intake.
The commonest reason of marijuana use is the pleasure derived and other effects of marijuana intoxication due to the presence of THC binding to the brain receptors.
Common signs of marijuana intoxication or abuse include:
- Social withdrawal
- Inappropriate and excessive laughter
- Mood changes
- Altered sense of time
- Feelings of relaxation
- Distorted perception
- Increased appetite
- Problems with memory
- Impaired cognition
- Loss of coordination
- Blood shot eyes
- Dry mouth
- Coughing due to lung irritation
There are various signs which can also show when marijuana use is a problem and this also includes:
- Failing to fulfil school, home or work obligations
- Using larger amounts of marijuana than intended
- Strong craving to use marijuana
- Spending an inordinate amount of time getting and using marijuana
- Continuing to use marijuana despite harmful consequences such as interpersonal, psychological or physical problems
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when use is stopped
- Using marijuana in dangerous situations as driving
- Prioritizing marijuana use over previously enjoyed hobbies
- Requiring an increase in marijuana dose to attain the desired effects
Marijuana doesn’t come with a clear definition of overdose. In fact, doctors aren’t entirely sure how much tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)—the active ingredient in marijuana most likely to induce the high users are seeking—it takes to overdose. We haven’t even agreed on a common test to determine levels. Typically, THC in the bloodstream is measured as nanograms per milliliter (ng/ml) and refers to how much THC there is in a milliliter of blood or plasma.
Can You Die From Smoking Weed?
We aren’t sure how much is too much. We do know from animals and a handful of human cases that it is possible to die while ingesting marijuana alone (no alcohol or other drugs along with it). What medical professionals aren’t clear about, is whether those cases had other contributing factors (like pre-existing cardiac conditions).
Even the method of consumption makes a difference. THC that is consumed in edible form is metabolized differently than when it’s inhaled. It takes longer to absorb THC in edibles, which can lead to the user thinking they didn’t get enough. If one brownie doesn’t work, they take another…and maybe just one more. Suddenly, they have a serious reaction.
Edibles are also much more prone to accidental overdoses. Smoking marijuana doesn’t usually happen accidentally. Even second-hand smoke from your neighbor’s ganja party isn’t really going to do anything but stink up your apartment. Leaving laced cookies lying around, however, pretty much begs for someone to try a bite. Kids are especially likely to munch on marijuana goodies.
When grandma is trying a little medical marijuana for the first time and accidentally leaves it out for the grandkids to explore, you have a recipe for overdose. Children presenting to the emergency department with accidental ingestion of marijuana becomes increasingly common in every state that legalizes marijuana for recreational use. Once it’s legal and tolerated, it’s a lot easier to accidentally leave your marijuana out on the coffee table for the kids to find.
We Really Don’t Yet Know the Answer
Many in the medical world report being a bit surprised by the marked increase in marijuana use in states where it has been fully legalized. Many paramedics and EMTs and emergency department healthcare providers figured that those who really cared about getting high had their medical marijuana prescriptions and could get it when they wanted. It’s been available for medicinal use since California legalized medical marijuana in 1996.
By contrast, in Oregon the number of dispensaries doubled after weed went from strictly medicinal to recreational. As it turned out, there were plenty of people interested in trying the recently illicit substance. All that new consumption has led to significant increases in marijuana-induced emergency department visits.
Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington all allow the recreational consumption of marijuana. Several other states are fast on their heels. As the momentum of recreational pot burns across the country (the puns really do come easily), people you probably didn’t expect to see getting high are trying weed for the first time in years. While they might have smoked a little pot in college (and despite what they tell you, they inhaled) this isn’t the same thing.
A Lot More THC Today
Just like how modern farmers are able to get much bigger yields from crops like corn and beans, weed farmers today are much more successful than they were in the past. The levels of THC in marijuana are well above what it was before the current farmers were born.
The concentrations of THC increased from 3.4 percent in 1993 to 8.8 percent in 2008. Some folks say that just means you don’t have to roll the blunts as fat as you used to, but let’s face it: When you’re chasing the high, the bar just keeps getting higher.
Can you overdose on marijuana?
Marijuana overdose is still a debated topic and there isn’t really a clear answer on how much pot is too much. Until there is, it’s important to be diligent if you choose to use and to keep yourself informed. Don’t accept the mantra that weed is natural and therefore, safe. What makes anything safe is an informed consumer and a critical mind.
MMJ DOCTOR: Our Medical Marijuana Doctors will evaluate and recommend you right dosage so you can avoid any overdose symptoms.