Marijuana Overdose – Is It Possible Plus Everything You Need to Know

If you’ve been through a D.A.R.E. program at school, you were probably taught about the risk of overdose when it comes to drugs.

This is because countless deaths needlessly occur each year as a result of drug overdose from dangerous narcotics, like heroin, cocaine, alcohol, and even prescription pain killers.

However, when it comes to consuming weed, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) itself has announced that no deaths have ever been reported as a result of the marijuana overdose.

This is because organically-grown marijuana has extremely low levels of toxicity, and even when ingested in high quantities, rarely causing long-lasting effects.

This doesn’t mean that you can’t have a bad trip with organic marijuana, however.

Those who are less experienced with cannabis in particular, or those who have accidentally over-ingested the drug, may experience temporary adverse effects that, though non-lethal, are still uncomfortable.

In addition, compared to natural marijuana, certain strands of synthetic marijuana pose much more serious risks in terms of addiction and overdose, and can sometimes require medical attention.

For the majority of this post, we will focus on the risk of overdose associated with natural marijuana, including its symptoms and treatments, but we will touch upon the risks of synthetic marijuana as well towards the end.

What is Marijuana Overdose?

Marijuana overdose refers to the state of over-ingesting THC to the point where the user experiences unwanted adverse effects.

With natural cannabis, there has been no reported lethal overdoses caused by marijuana, however taking in too much can cause acute cannabis psychosis or put the user in a sedated state.

Marijuana overdose usually occurs when the user does not realize how much THC they are ingesting.

This is often the case when new users are eating cannabis edibles and, as the effects can sometimes be delayed several minutes or even hours, they to continue to eat the marijuana goods under the impression that the effects are not potent.

This type of overdose is less common when users are smoking marijuana, since this form of ingestion causes a more instantaneous high, as the THC is directly absorbed from the lungs into the bloodstream, allowing the user to better judge their tolerance and pace their intake.

Can you Die from Marijuana / THC?

As reported by both the DEA and the National Cancer Institute no deaths have been reported as a direct result of marijuana / THC usage.

Most drug overdoses are caused by the flooding of opioid receptors, which are located in the region of the brainstem that controls respiration, which can cause the user to stop breathing.

Unlike opioids, however, cannabis affects the body’s cannabinoid receptors which do not affect respiration, but rather the parts of the brain related to memory, pleasure, and motor skills.

In fact, the body naturally produces cannabinoids and has a natural way of storing and secreting them.

That being said, smoking marijuana can affect your judgment and lead to accidents which could cause bodily harm.

For example, smoking while high has been linked to auto accidents and other types of potentially lethal incidents.

This is why it is important to be a responsible marijuana user, as no one want’s to spoil the party by doing something stupid that could add to the public’s misunderstanding of weed.

Also, it is important to note that the statistics regarding the non-lethal nature of marijuana are based on plant-grown cannabis, not synthetic marijuana.

Synesthetic lab-created marijuana is a new method of creating the drug which has not been closely studied so the deadliness of the drug is not yet clear.

However, since this drug is man-made and not organic, there are higher risks of the formula developing toxicity or being mixed with other types of drugs which could cause serious side effects, and in some extreme cases of overdose, possibly even death.

Symptoms of Overdose

Overdosing on natural marijuana can cause several unwanted side effects, though they are typically short lived and should pass within a few hour, or at most a few days. Some of the most common symptoms of marijuana overdose include:

Some of the most common symptoms of marijuana overdose include:

  • Sedation
  • Paranoia
  • Insomnia
  • Hallucinations
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Nausea
  • Withdrawal

The two most common manifestations of marijuana overdose are sedation and acute cannabis psychosis, which can cause paranoia and agitation.

Both of these symptoms, however, should subside quickly without leaving long-term effects like other drugs can.

In addition, if you are a habitual marijuana user, you may experience mild withdrawal symptoms as your body readjusts to naturally producing standard levels of cannabinoids. These withdraw symptoms may include irritability, insomnia, and anxiety.

Treatment

For most, the symptoms of over-ingesting organic marijuana will subside naturally within a few hours or days and no further actions will need to be taken.

Monitoring your intake when you are using marijuana, especially when you are eating edibles, can prevent you from experiencing adverse effects.

If you are currently experiencing unwanted symptoms from marijuana, drinking fluids and resting are the best ways to cure these temporary side effects.

Pets and Marijuana Overdose

If you find your pet munching on your stash, you may be wondering what their risk of overdose may be.

Fortunately, the effects of marijuana on dogs and cats are similar to the effects on humans, and though your furry friend may seem a little loopy and wide-eyed for a few hours or days, these symptoms should be temporary.

In general, however, until they perfect veterinary cannabis, it is best to keep your pot out of reach for your pets, especially if it is infused in edibles as many edibles contain chocolate or raisins—both of which are toxic for dogs.

Overdose with Synthetic Marijuana

Overdosing with synthetic marijuana is very different than overdosing with naturally grown marijuana. So far, we have mostly focused on the risks of natural marijuana which are minimal in comparison to other drugs.

With synthetic marijuana, however, this type of drug is man-made in a lab and is, therefore, more prone to increased levels of toxicity.

Certain strands of synthetic marijuana like K2 and Spice can be very potent and may even be laced with other drugs and toxic substances.

Because synthetic marijuana is a new form of the drug, there are few studies and conclusive evidence regarding the drug’s safety, but some users have reported extreme effects due to overdose, including:

  • Fainting
  • Seizure
  • Heart attack and stroke
  • Respiratory difficulties
  • And in rare cases, death

The risk of synthetic marijuana, of course, depends on the expertise of the lab that produced it, with the most risk associated with armature manufacturers.

If you plan to smoke synthetic marijuana, you should use extra precaution not to exceed your limits, as the overdose risks are higher with this form of the drug than with organic marijuana.

Photos from: Gennadiy Poznyakov © 123RF.com, Luis Manuel Tapia Bolivar © 123RF.com, Константин Колосов © 123RF.com, Seree Yindee © 123RF.com and Joshua Resnick © 123RF.com.

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