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. 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 user high, 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
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