Cannabis Overdose: What Happens If You Consume Too Much?

Cannabis overdose symptoms

We are all aware of the reputation cannabis has as an illicit substance and the stigma around it. 

Yet many are surprised to learn that cannabis is a non-toxic, and relatively safe consumable. 

Cannabis has not been linked to resulting in any deaths. 

However, excessive cannabis consumption can lead to uncomfortable symptoms, much like sugar or coffee. 

For cannabis novices, the greatest risk is an overdose that could lead to a lifetime of distaste towards cannabis. 

These instances are rather unfortunate, as simply taking a lower dose could avoid unwanted symptoms altogether.

To avoid these types of scenarios, it is crucial to learn more about cannabis overdoses and how to avoid them. 

Here are some commonly asked questions and tips on how to handle excessive cannabis consumption.

cannabis bush

What Defines A Cannabis Overdose?

So firstly, you might be asking, “Is it possible to overdose on cannabis if it’s a non-toxic substance?” Yes, by definition, you can experience an overdose on cannabis. However, it will not be fatal, but rather wildly unpleasant.

An accidental cannabis overdose, however, is not as dangerous as an excessive intake of caffeine or alcohol. 

There is a common misconception that the effects of cannabis on the respiratory system could be severe.

Although that is entirely unfounded as the cannabis itself will not affect your respiratory system regardless how much you consume. 

An overdose with substances such as alcohol may cause your respiratory system to shut down and prevent you from breathing. 

This is known as central respiratory depression. 

A suppressed respiratory system can cause death or damage to your organs and brain. 

The use of cannabis compounds on its own do not cause central respiratory depression. Meaning you cannot fatally overdose.

An “overdose” of cannabis may lead to sleeplessness or a heavy psychoactive sensation.

Although some experience extreme levels of paranoia and anxiety.

However, most side effects of cannabis use quickly dissipate over a couple hours at most.

cannabis edibles

Experiencing “Overdose” Through Edibles

The risk of overdose is significantly higher with edible forms of cannabis. 

Although there are ways to implement cannabis as a healthy part of your diet, as with all things, you can over do it. 

Eating edibles takes longer for the body’s metabolism to break down and can take as long as two hours feel the effects. 

Many people make the error of eating more than the recommended amount before the two-hour digestion window is up.

Thus leading to overconsumption which can result in a plethora of different reactions. 

Including vomiting, anxiousness, or migraines. I

f you are trying edibles for the first time, it is recommended that you start with half the amount of the dosage listed. 

If you are wanting a stronger effect after two hours from consumption, then you can slowly work your way up.

Cannabis Hyperemesis Syndrome

Frequent cannabis users, especially those who have been consuming cannabis since their adolescent teenage years, should be aware of Cannabis Hyperemesis Syndrome (CHS).

It is a condition caused by long-term cannabis use. 

People who have CHS experience recurrent episodes of nausea, vomiting, dehydration and abdominal pain. 

CHS affects only a small percentage of cannabis users. 

Experts are unsure of what exactly causes cannabis hyperemesis syndrome. Genetics may be a factor, according to some researchers. 

Others think CHS might be due to an overstimulation in your endocannabinoid systems (ECS). 

The ECS is a network in your body of receptors that respond to cannabis compounds. 

CHS can only be treated permanently by quitting cannabis use for approximately 10 days or so.

Cannabis overdose symptoms

What Are The Signs Of Cannabis Overdose?

Temporary discomfort may be a result of excessive consumption of psychoactive cannabis.

It is important to know that cannabis has been classified as a biphasic drug. 

This means that if you take more than you intend, it may have the opposite effect. 

You might find yourself feeling worse if you smoke too much cannabis. 

The effects of an “overdose” on cannabis are usually manageable if you keep calm and create a safe environment. 

These are 5 possible side effects to look out for in a “cannabis overdose”.

1. Fatigue

You can get very sleepy if you eat too many edibles or inhale too much cannabis.

 In fact, the most common side effect of an accidental overdose is sleep. 

This is great because it will help you sleep off the effects of cannabis, which can prevent you from experiencing some of the side effects such as anxiety and paranoia.

2. Paranoia

Anxiety and paranoia are probably the most well-known negative side effects of taking too much cannabis. 

While cannabis isn’t harmful and doesn’t cause long-term or serious damage, some consumers mistakenly believe it to be more severe. This is because excessive THC consumption can cause anxiety and paranoia. 

To be clear, we are not referring to CBD here, this is mainly a side effect of THC. 

In fact, CBD can be an antidote for too much THC consumption.

Furthermore, THC can trigger panic attacks in extreme doses. 

People can feel like they are dying during panic attacks whether they are cannabis-induced or not. 

This can make some people feel very anxious and scared.

It is important to recognize when you are having a panic attack. It’s helpful to focus on deep breathing and calming your thoughts.

3. Rapid heartbeat

Some people, especially those who are new to cannabis, may feel a rapid heartbeat upon consumption. 

These effects often go away as you build a tolerance. 

However, it is important for people with heart problems to monitor their heart rates after consuming THC. 

Some consumers may experience panic attacks or anxiety from rapid heartbeats. Rest assured that your heart rate decreases substantially within an hour after inhaling this herb. It should return to normal within two hours.

4. A decrease in blood pressure

THC may cause a drop in blood pressure. 

This is how cannabis causes the blood vessels of the eyes to dilate, causing them to turn red. 

The herb’s ability to lower blood pressure is dependent on your tolerance. This side effect can be particularly exaggerated if you take too much cannabis.

5. Skewed movement

Certain substances, like alcohol can seriously impair motor control, including your ability to walk and stand properly. 

Cannabis overdose can also affect your movement but to a lesser extent than other substances. 

It is possible to fall asleep more easily and have changes in your walking ability. 

Cannabis active compounds can also influence parts of your brain that affect motor control. This can lead to a feeling of being less coordinated.

What Can You Do In Case Of A Cannabis “Overdose”?

Firstly, don’t panic.

To make this an enjoyable experience, you can try many different things. 

Smoking too much cannabis can cause severe discomfort for a few hours. However, it will pass. Edibles may take longer.

Here are some ideas to help ease yourself from the cannabis “overdose” experience.

1. CBD is a good option.

CBD interacts with THC in a synergistic manner. It actually counteracts THC in some cases.

CBD-rich products could be helpful in reducing anxiety due to THC. 

Funnily enough, using a separate cannabinoid (such as CBD) can be of great benefit counteract negative effects of THC.

2. Eating black pepper is a great choice

You can chew on some fresh black pepper for relief. 

Though it may seem like an odd choice, it surprisingly works…

Beta-caryophyllene is a terpene found in black pepper that can help reduce the psychoactive effects of THC.

3. Changing up your environment

You could do this by turning down loud music, getting some fresh air, or simply moving to another room. 

Take caution however, when going out for a walk or heading outside.

4. Concentrate on what you enjoy

It doesn’t matter if it’s reading through a book or playing a video game, but distracting your attention from negative side effects can make a huge difference.

What Is Considered A Safe Dosage For Cannabis?

It can be difficult to properly dose cannabis. 

This is because everybody responds differently to the herb. 

The dosage will be different for someone just starting to use the plant than someone who uses it regularly. 

Depending on the way you use cannabis, your dosage will be different. You may find that cannabis dosage is less than you think depending on your circumstances.

Here is a general guideline for psychoactive THC dosage:

  • Micro dose: 2.5-5 milligrams THC
  • Standard Dose: 5-10 mgs THC
  • High Dose: 15-20 mgs THC

People may need to take higher doses for certain medical conditions. 

When first learning about the compound, novice users are often advised to use low doses. 

People who use cannabis for a long time will eventually develop a tolerance. 

Furthermore, a higher dose of THC (say 15 mg) may seem like an overdose for a beginner to cannabis. 

You can gradually increase the dose if you need to. Just beware of taking too much at once.

If you feel that you are taking too much, you can always lower your dosage. 

Tolerance allows you to consume more cannabis without experiencing the side effects of too much cannabis before your body is ready. 

Even seasoned cannabis users can experience the side effects of overdosing if they consume greater than usual amounts.

cannabis overdose

Ways To Prepare For Cannabis “Overdose”

Although cannabis has an impressive safety record, it’s still deserving of reverence and respect.

It is essential to be aware of your dosage. There are a few other factors you should consider when preparing for cannabis usage.

1. It is important not to overdo it.

Many people enjoy the relaxing effects of cannabis and thus take larger quantities. 

This will increase your tolerance and may also have a negative impact on your productivity, motivation, and overall quality of life. 

Yes, you can have too much of a good thing. 

Many experienced cannabis consumers are surprised at the higher benefits they see when they consume less cannabis.

2. Set and setting 

This is essential for any psychoactive experience. 

Set refers generally to your mindset and setting refers specifically to your immediate environment. It is essential to keep a positive mindset when consuming cannabis.

Along with this, you should be sure that you are in a safe environment with no potential outside dangers that would concern you while high. 

Not everyone is able to use cannabis in a crowd or at a board meeting.

3. Clarify your intent

What is the point of cannabis use?

 Does it help with a medical condition you have? 

Maybe you want to unwind and relax at night? 

This plant is used for many reasons. 

To help beginners get the most out of cannabis, they will need to practice and experiment. 

Setting an intention for your cannabis use can help manage your dosage as well as help have a steady mindset to prevent yourself from overdoing it.

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