Is there something like a fatal dose of marijuana and can you overdose on cannabis? It’s a good and very important question! Hypothetically, what’s the worst thing that could happen? An extreme case of marijuana paranoia?
A stoned reporter for Elemental asked a PHD drug expert the same question and this is what the boffin had to say:
It all depends critically on how much THC you consume. With legalization going global, we’re seeing cannabis extracts with very, very high THC, and we’re seeing more people turn up in emergency departments with adverse reactions. In adults, these adverse reactions include severe anxiety, paranoia, hallucinations, and other “psychotic” symptoms. A racing heart and, in rarer cases, nausea and vomiting are also well-documented phenomena.Wayne Hall has published hundreds of peer-reviewed articles on the drug’s effects, good and bad.
Recent data suggest that alcohol-related hospital admissions dwarf the number of cannabis-only hospital admissions by a factor of 25. But many, many more people consume alcohol, which makes such comparisons tricky.
Hall goes on to explains that when people smoke marijuana, the effects tend to be almost immediate and are therefore self-limiting. Some heavy and habitual smokers are able to tolerate so much THC that they can keep smoking to the point that they have a bad reaction. But with ingestible products, there’s often a lag between consumption and felt effect. It’s easier for people to take a lot more than they intend to.
Can an excessive dose of cannabis cause death or permanent damage?
According to Hall, there are some reports of stroke or heart issues following an acute overdose. But these are extremely rare and may not be strictly attributable to cannabis. Cannabis mixed with other drugs — and in particular, synthetic cannabinoid products such as Spice or K2 – is another story with a bunch of complications. Research has linked these concoctions to heart attacks, seizures, and other life-threatening reactions. But when it comes to pure cannabis, including high-THC products, the risks of a deadly or damaging overdose seem to be “quite low,” he says.
Other experts agreed.
A fatal overdose after cannabis consumption is highly unlikely. As for lingering health issues following an acute overdose, not according to my knowledge. Effects of acute cannabis intoxication are transient.Kevin Hill, MD, an associate professor of psychiatry at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School.
The truth is that although marijuana is one of the safest drugs around, far safer than opioids, alcohol, Tylenol, or antidepressants, it is still toxic when the dose is large enough. So be safe and take it easy. Keep in mind: it’s all about the trip, not the destination!