According to a 2016 poll carried out by Gallup, 13% of US adults were marijuana users. This was a sharp rise from 2013 when 7% were found to be active marijuana users. Thanks to the legalization of marijuana by twenty nine US states together with the District of Columbia by the end of 2017, the number has risen to more than 30%.
Today, the varieties of marijuana are regarded as the most potent compared to 20 years. Unlike in the past when marijuana users depended on smoking joints, today, users have several choices from edibles to vaping.
Many people are always wondering if smoking too much marijuana can lead to an overdose. Before I answer the question of whether marijuana can cause an overdose, its best to understand how marijuana and its compounds affect the brain or the human body in general.
How marijuana works
It is important to understand that marijuana contains 480 compounds. THC is one of the 480 compounds and it possesses psychoactive effects leading to mood changes. When you smoke, consume marijuana as an edible or vape its e-liquid, the compounds mainly Cannabichromene (CBC), Cannabigerol (CBG), Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV), Cannabinol (CBN) and THC among others attach themselves to specific cannabinoid receptors in the brain.
Marijuana compounds activate these receptors thus affecting your memory, thinking, movement, concentration, pleasure, appetite, pain, time perception, and coordination. The above effects are short term and usually, wear off after a few hours. Extended use of marijuana can result in long term effects like memory alteration and tolerance to THC.
Now that you know how marijuana affects your body and mind, let’s proceed with the discovery of whether users can overdose it.
Can I overdose on marijuana?
According to the Center for Disease and Control, a fatal overdose of marijuana is unlikely. However, the scientists at CDC have noted that the potency of marijuana which is determined by the quantity of THC found in modern strains can lead to poisoning especially when consumed or swallowed.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse once revealed that marijuana is the most abused drug in the United States. The same federal agency discovered that people were engaging in a new form of marijuana use called dabbing. Basically, dabbing is where marijuana users smoke resins containing high quantities of THC. As a dangerous practice, it has been found to be the cause of several emergency visits.
Despite the revelation above, marijuana overdose is still not likely. However, consuming too much of THC can increase the risk of death.
For example, a marijuana user who has consumed a lot maybe unaware of his or her surroundings. This is because the brain has been impaired thus lowering concentration. As a result, it is quite common for someone to be involved in an accident or end up falling.
Apart from that, scientists have linked the excessive use of marijuana with the triggering of psychosis and related conditions like schizophrenia. This may result in hallucinations, extreme paranoia and delusion.
Researchers have also found out that there are users who abuse marijuana by mixing it with other drugs. This is common with dealers who mix marijuana with drugs like PCP, crack or cocaine. When this happens, the buyer is unaware and dealers mix marijuana with other drugs to increase its potency and enhance the high. As a result, the risks of an overdose are possible but remember; marijuana is not the direct cause. The use of other illegal drugs like crack and cocaine is the cause of an overdose.
This was proven by a Swedish study titled Cannabis and mortality among young men: a longitudinal study of Swedish conscripts. According to the researchers (Andresasson S. and Allebeck P.), the study revealed that the relative risk of death is not possible. It is only possible if the users mix marijuana with other drugs.
Is temporary overdose from marijuana possible?
Symptoms of greening out
Here are the symptoms to watch for:
- Lack of mobility or heavy limbs
- Chills or sweats
- Increased heart rate
- Paranoia and anxiety
- Lack of focus or disorientation
It is important to note that the above symptoms usually last between 30 minutes to 6 hours. If marijuana was not mixed with other drugs, the symptoms above will simply cease after the said duration. If you consumed marijuana mixed with other drugs, it is important to seek medical help.
Now that you know that marijuana overdose is unlikely, this does not mean that you should abuse it. If you have consumed a lot of marijuana, here is what you need to do. Relax, take deep breaths, stay hydrated, boost your blood sugar and take a nap. This will help to alleviate the effects of consuming too much cannabis.