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Can You Overdose On Weed?
4 min

Can You Overdose On Weed?

4 min
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Perhaps you're too stoned right now and you're worried you might die. Maybe you've googled "Can I overdose on cannabis" and you're dreading the results? Let us put you at ease. You're going to be fine. That is, unless you've just smoked 2,700,000 spliffs. Then you should worry…

Drugs are powerful things, and it’s important to know what you’re dealing with before you take any substance. Weed is no exception. But, can you overdose on marijuana? Read on to discover how much weed you'd need to take to overdose (spoiler: more than you can possibly take) and the science behind the body’s wonderful, natural defence mechanisms against getting too blazed.

What Is an Overdose?

What Is an Overdose?

An overdose is the level at which the toxicity of a drug will kill over 50% of people. In reality, this is usually based on animal studies. The good news: no matter how hard scientists have tried, it has proven literally impossible to kill any animals through marijuana toxicity. The bad news: there are some people whose job it is to try and kill animals with weed.

That’s not to say there is no overdose level for cannabis, only that it is extremely high. In practicality, it would likely be impossible to die through excess cannabis use alone.

What Happens When You Smoke or Eat Too Much Marijuana?

What Happens When You Smoke or Eat Too Much Marijuana?

Although you will not overdose on marijuana, that’s not to say you can’t smoke too much and have a bad time. Generally, the effects of cannabis are highly enjoyable, but negative experiences can occur. We’ve all been there, and it’s not pleasant. At the moderate end of the spectrum, excess marijuana use can cause increased heart rate, sweating, nausea, and dry mouth (which can be horrible!).

At its worst, expect to be very sick. Not unlike getting too drunk, smoking too much marijuana can make you very unwell. Though, unlike drinking alcohol, excess marijuana use will do no long term physical damage. For those who don’t know, the term for getting too stoned is “whiteying”. In its verb form: "to whitey". You’ll also hear the term “greening out” to describe this phenomenon.

Related article

What Is Greening Out And What To Do About It

Are There Any After Effects From Smoking or Eating Too Much Marijuana?

The evidence for weed hangovers is mostly anecdotal. Nonetheless, there are enough stories about it to suggest that, for many people, they do exist. The symptoms can vary; some people report symptoms similar to alcohol hangovers, whilst others seem unique to marijuana use. They range from headaches and lethargy to fogginess and poor memory.

Is There a Difference Between Smoking, Vaping, or Eating Too Much Marijuana?

Is There a Difference Between Smoking, Vaping, or Eating Too Much Marijuana?

Consuming edible cannabis products is far more likely to cause prolonged after effects than vaping or smoking weed. Smoked or vaped marijuana tends to be metabolised fairly quickly in the body, whereas edible marijuana is processed much more slowly. Therefore, the likelihood of greening out is much greater if you've eaten edibles.

At the time, the effects of overdoing it are different too, depending on the method on ingestion. If you smoke too much marijuana, you can expect to feel unwell fairly quickly, and to recover equally quickly. Usually, fresh air and a glass of water are enough to bring you back.

Not so with edibles. Due to the increased potency and longevity of this method, the effects of overdoing it can be much more distressing. Building up slowly, you can find yourself almost paralysed and unable to do very much at all if you eat too much marijuana.

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Why Eating Cannabis Is Stronger Than Smoking It

What’s more, there’s no quick way out. It’s one of those times in life where you just have to ride the wave. For those interested, when marijuana is digested, delta-9-THC is converted to 11-hydroxy-THC, which hits harder and lasts longer.

The solution? Start slowly and be patient! Wait until they’ve kicked in before eating more. Waiting half an hour more to get high is preferable to being curled up on the bathroom floor for six hours.

What To Do When You’ve Consumed Too Much Marijuana

What To Do When You’ve Consumed Too Much Marijuana

There are a few things you can do if you feel like you’ve consumed too much cannabis.

  • Relax: As you know by now, nobody has ever fatally overdosed from cannabis use. In a few hours, you’ll be fine.

  • Drink something refreshing: Water is an all-time favourite. However, maybe something sweet and bubbly might hit the spot. In short, treat yourself and refresh yourself.

  • Take a walk outside: This one cannot be stressed enough—fresh air and movement are a fantastic way to relax and shake that funk (if you can get off the sofa!).

  • Talk to people: If you’re with people, let them know you’re feeling too high. That way, you can laugh about it, instead of incessantly thinking about it.

  • Take some CBD: Taking more cannabis might not jump out as the solution, but CBD may counteract some of the effects of THC. Just make sure you don’t smoke the wrong bud!

How Much Cannabis Is Lethal?

How Much Cannabis Is Lethal?

As a rough estimate, the amount of marijuana one would need to consume in order for a fatal overdose to occur is about 680kg in 15 minutes. Though we’re not advising it, any person who manages to achieve this would go down in history as a legend, if not a little over enthusiastic about getting stoned.

Considering most people put less than a gram in a joint, you’re looking at an absolute minimum of 680,000 joints in only fifteen minutes—around 2,700,000 for the average smoker. Hopefully, that puts it in perspective a little. Even if you wanted to, could you really afford to overdose on marijuana?

Can You Overdose on CBD?

There is no evidence to suggest a fatal overdose is possible with CBD. In fact, preliminary studies[1] have found humans to tolerate doses of up to 1,500mg of CBD per day, with no adverse effects. This, of course, is a much higher dose than one person would take anyway. Still, that’s not to say CBD can’t cause an overdose; but, it’s likely one would need to consume a similarly ludicrous amount to the THC overdose level.

Nonetheless, it is possible to experience unwanted side effects, such as lethargy and upset stomach, from CBD. Much like with THC, use this cannabinoid with care and respect.

How Your Body Protects Itself From Overdosing on Marijuana

How Your Body Protects Itself From Overdosing on Marijuana

The brain is a wonderful thing, and it even has an inbuilt mechanism to stop us from getting too stoned. THC binds to CB1 receptors in the brain. These receptors are partially responsible for the regulation of the body's endocannabinoid system. When the CB1 receptor is activated, it triggers the production of pregnenolone[2] (an inactive precursor of all steroid hormones). What does pregnenolone do? It counteracts the effects of THC. The more weed you smoke, the more your body will defend against it.

In scientific terms, this is known as a paracrine or autocrine loop. It essentially protects the CB1 receptors from over-stimulation. As THC stimulates the CB1 receptors, the production of pregnenolone is exponentially increased. This is why it is almost impossible to overdose on marijuana.

Related article

What Is The Endocannabinoid System?

Should You Worry About a Marijuana Overdose?

Should You Worry About a Marijuana Overdose?

No. If you find yourself too stoned and you’re worrying about dying from a marijuana overdose, you can expel that thought from your mind. It’s not going to happen. Don’t take this as your cue to smoke stupid amounts of weed, though. Although it is a physically safe drug, it can have adverse mental effects if used inappropriately, and these can be just as harmful as the physical ones. As a rule of thumb, if you’re enjoying yourself, you’re probably good!

Zamnesia

Written by: Zamnesia
Zamnesia has spent years honing its products, ranges, and knowledge of all things psychedelic. Driven by the spirit of Zammi, Zamnesia strives to bring you accurate, factual, and informative content.

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Disclaimer:
We are not making medical claims. This article has been written for informational purposes only, and is based on research published by other externals sources.

External Resources:
  1. Safety and side effects of cannabidiol, a Cannabis sativa constituent - PubMed - https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
  2. Pregnenolone Can Protect the Brain from Cannabis Intoxication - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

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