In light of the widespread wave of legalization now sweeping across the United States, many people are asking an important question: Can you overdose on weed?
As more and more states pass varying flavors of legislation, effectively legalizing marijuana for medical – and even recreational – purposes, concern is growing about the possibility of ill-effects caused by ingesting too much weed.
What constitutes ‘too much weed’?
How much is too much weed, though? Is there a specific amount of THC (the primary active ingredient of marijuana) that constitutes over-intoxication? One of the most elusive qualities of marijuana is the variance in the amount necessary to get intoxicated or even ‘buzzed’. Numerous factors determine the effect that marijuana will have on a person, and these factors also vary with every individual.
But can you overdose on weed? For healthy people with no existing medical condition, the short answer is “no”. Medical science has yet to confirm evidence that ingesting ‘standard’ doses of marijuana has proven lethal to anyone. Of course, the term ‘standard’ is open to wildly varied interpretation, considering that the amount of marijuana used varies considerably with every individual. But for most people, consuming even unusually large quantities of marijuana would cause little more than a bad headache or a ‘stoneover’ the next day.
Overdosing requires 40,000x a standard ‘session’
Like most every psychoactive substance, there is a limit to the amount of THC which can be ingested before it proves fatal for a living organism. But the amount of THC that could potentially be lethal is way beyond the level absorbed by the body after a few tokes. So how much THC is a lethal dose? Studies have shown that a person would have to take 40,000 times the standard amount of THC consumed in a single session in order to die purely from the effects of THC.
It is important to clarify the last part. Even though THC can be lethal in that amount, it is virtually impossible for anyone to ingest that much THC. To illustrate it more clearly, imagine having to smoke 20,000 joints all by yourself or taking 40,000 hits off your bong. That’s how much bud you would have to smoke to get anywhere near dropping dead from a marijuana overdose. In fact, you would pass out from smoke inhalation long before you are able to ingest a fatal dose of THC.
Conclusion: Fatalities are very, very unlikely
Okay, so dying from marijuana is possible, but very, very unlikely. But can you overdose on weed? Relatively new users who quickly ingest large amounts of marijuana are well familiar with the effects of a marijuana overdose. The most common symptoms are feelings of anxiety and paranoia. The affected person may experience shortness of breath and their pupils may be dilated. Nausea and vomiting are also common symptoms of an overdose, as are cold sweats and a increased heart rate. As unpleasant as the effects of an overdose can be, however, they will not cause any lasting or permanent effects.