Can You Overdose on Marijuana Yes, but It's More Likely with Edibles

Can You Overdose on Marijuana? Yes, but It's More Likely with Edibles

August 04, 2023

You might be wondering, can you actually overdose on marijuana? Well, the answer is yes, but don't panic - it's not usually life-threatening. Overdosing on cannabis, also known as marijuana, is quite rare, and it's more likely to happen with edibles.

Let's break it down in simple terms. An overdose occurs when you take too much of a drug, and this can happen with marijuana. However, the good news is that it's rarely dangerous.

Now, here's where it gets interesting. Edibles, those tasty treats infused with marijuana, are more likely to lead to overdoses. Why? Well, there's a delay in how they affect you and how your body processes them. This lag in effects can catch you off guard.

Related article: Marijuana Edibles for the First Time, Dosage and What to Expect

But fear not! You can reduce the chances of going overboard by controlling how much THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, you consume. This can help you avoid any uncomfortable situations.

So, whether you're new to marijuana or quite experienced, you might be wondering about the right amount to take. You've probably seen numbers like 5 mg or 10 mg on cannabis products. What's the difference, and what if you take too much? We're here to break it down for you.

How Does Marijuana Affect Your Body?

Let's talk about THC, the stuff in marijuana that gives you that "high" feeling. When you smoke weed, your lungs take THC into your bloodstream, and it quickly reaches your brain. But if you eat or drink marijuana, it takes a slower route through your body, and you'll feel the effects later.

Both smoked and edible marijuana can make your heart race, give you the munchies, make your eyes red, mess with your sense of time, and even make you a bit clumsy. Your memory might play tricks on you, and your thinking might get a bit fuzzy. Your mood and how you see things could also change.

Smoking marijuana gets you high within minutes, while edibles can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours to kick in. Sometimes, it might even take up to 4 hours to feel the full effects of edibles, and those effects can stick around for up to 12 hours. This is where things can get tricky. People sometimes eat an edible, don't feel anything right away, and then take more, leading to an overdose.

Here's a cool tidbit: Even if a smoked and an edible product have the same amount of THC, the edible can make you feel even higher. When you eat or drink THC, your liver transforms it into a more potent form.

By the way, edibles spare your lungs from the harmful stuff in marijuana smoke, which can be bad for you. Plus, smoking might get you hooked faster because THC rushes to your brain more quickly.


How to Tell If You've Had Too Much THC

Even though edibles have a slightly higher risk of causing an overdose, you can still overdo it with THC no matter how you consume it. But don't freak out – fatal overdoses are super rare (mostly due to heart problems), and they're not the norm. Still, an overdose can be a real downer.

If you've taken too much THC, you might feel some chest pain, your heart could race, you might throw up, and you could even start seeing or hearing things that aren't there. You might feel like you're not yourself or that you're about to kick the bucket. Breathing might become a bit tricky, and anxiety could hit you like a ton of bricks.

Sadly, there's no magic fix to undo an overdose. You just have to wait it out. But hey, you can make yourself feel better by chilling out, finding distractions, and drinking water. If things get really out of hand – like you can't stop throwing up or you're feeling way too anxious – it's smart to get some help from a pro.

Here are some of possible symptoms when 'overdose' on weed:

  • Extreme anxiety or panic attacks
  • Paranoia or feelings of extreme fear
  • Hallucinations or distorted sensory perceptions
  • Rapid heart rate or palpitations
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Impaired coordination and motor skills
  • Difficulty concentrating or focusing
  • Memory impairment or short-term memory loss
  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Feelings of depersonalization or derealization
  • Intense sedation or drowsiness
  • Respiratory issues (in cases of smoking)
  • Intense and uncomfortable psychoactive effects
  • Sweating
  • Chills

Once again, it's important to remember that while severe marijuana overdose cases are rare and not typically life-threatening, consuming excessive amounts can lead to discomfort and distressing symptoms. Responsible and moderate use is key to avoiding negative effects.

CBD vs. THC – What's the Difference?

Now, there's something called CBD, another ingredient in marijuana. It's usually safer than THC – you're less likely to overdo it. But here's the twist: CBD products might not always be what they seem. They could have more CBD or THC than they say, or they might have some other weird stuff in them. So, be cautious.

Related article: THC and CBD, and the Entourage Effect!

Taking too much CBD probably won't mess you up too badly. You might feel queasy, get a rash, or just want to nap. Some folks even had issues with their liver after using a lot of CBD for a while. Oh, and CBD can mess with certain medications, so it's wise to talk to your doctor before mixing them.

How Much Marijuana Is Safe?

Now, the right amount of marijuana varies from person to person. It depends on how experienced you are with it, how often you use it, and other stuff. What's a good dose for a daily user might be way too much for someone trying it for the first time.

But if you're looking for some ballpark figures, researchers say 5 mg of THC is a standard unit. But experts suggest starting with just half of that – around 2.5 mg – and not going over 40 mg in a day. It's kinda hard to measure the exact dose, so better safe than sorry.

Tips for Keeping Your Marijuana Experience in Check

When you're trying to keep your THC intake in check, start small and work your way up. Remember, there's no quick fix if you've had too much, so it's better to take a little bit at a time instead of diving in headfirst.

If you're munching on edibles, kick things off with 2.5 mg of THC. First-timers might want to stick to 1 mg to 2.5 mg of THC in edibles, drinks, or tinctures. If you're not feeling it, wait around 3 hours before taking more. If you're smoking or vaping, go for a low-THC option or something with more CBD. Start with a single puff, and wait at least 15 minutes before going for another.

Related article: Beginner’s Guide to Consuming Cannabis - 8 Tips to Elevate Your Experience

And here's the deal – if you start feeling any of those funky effects we talked about earlier, especially the overdose signs, it's a good idea to ease off.

Final Thoughts

Yes, you can technically overdose on marijuana, but it's not usually a big deal. If it does happen, just ride it out. Paying attention to how much THC you're taking can help you steer clear of any trouble. Experts recommend starting with 1 mg to 2.5 mg for edibles and a small puff of a low-THC product if you're smoking.

Remember, if you're struggling with using substances, there's help out there. You can reach out to SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) to find resources in your area.

And don't forget, the regulations about marijuana can be different depending on where you live. Some places say it's okay for recreational or medical purposes, but others still don't give it the green light. Make sure you know the laws in your neck of the woods before you spark up.

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