Can You Od On Weed

They also discovered that cognitive impairments happening while users were high were more significant among participants who had not developed a tolerance to marijuana.

Can You Overdose on Weed?

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Weed is otherwise known as marijuana, cannabis, and pot, among other names. While many people smoke or vape weed, you can also use it as an ingredient in food, drinks, topicals, or tinctures.

The flower of the cannabis plant is extracted for its recreational or medicinal purposes. The stalk or stem of the plant is used for industrial reasons (like hemp fiber). The seed of the cannabis plant is used for food or household purposes (such as hemp seed or hemp oil).

Different ways of ingesting cannabis may affect your body differently. When you inhale weed smoke into your lungs, the compounds enter your bloodstream and quickly reach your brain and other organs. The effects may onset within seconds to minutes.

When you consume products containing cannabis, the compounds must first pass through your digestive system and liver before entering your bloodstream. The effects may onset within minutes to hours.

THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is responsible for the effects of cannabis. It may also provide medicinal effects for conditions like:

  • Pain
  • Nausea
  • Reduced appetite
  • Insomnia

CBD (cannabidiol) is non-intoxicating. It offers potential medicinal effects for conditions like epilepsy and anxiety. However, there is still a lot we do not know about THC and CBD.

There is ongoing debate surrounding the effects of cannabis on the body. People report a mixture of physical and psychological effects, ranging from discomfort and anxiety to pain relief and relaxation.

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Common Side Effects of Marijuana

Marijuana overactivates areas of the brain that contain the highest number of these receptors. This leads to the ‘high’ that people experience.

Other side effects of marijuana include: 2

  • Altered senses (e.g., seeing brighter colors)
  • Altered sense of time
  • Shifts in mood
  • Impaired body movement
  • Problems with thinking and problem-solving
  • Impaired memory
  • Hallucinations, when taken in high doses
  • Delusions, when taken in high doses
  • Psychosis

In the long-term, too much marijuana affects brain development. When people start using marijuana as teenagers, the drug may affect thinking, memory, and learning functions. It may also affect how the brain develops connections between the areas required for these functions.

It is still unknown how long marijuana’s effects last and whether some changes may be permanent.

Can You Overdose on Weed?

A fatal marijuana overdose is unlikely, but that does not mean the drug is harmless. 3 The signs and side effects of using too much marijuana are similar to the usual effects of ingesting marijuana (but are more severe).

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How Much Weed is “Too Much?”

How much weed is ‘too much’ depends on the individual. If you experience heavy signs and symptoms of marijuana use, you have likely consumed too much cannabis.

Symptoms of Marijuana Overconsumption

The signs and symptoms of marijuana intoxication may include: 3

  • Extreme confusion
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Panic
  • Fast heart rate
  • Delusions or hallucinations
  • Heightened blood pressure
  • Severe nausea or vomiting

In some cases, a cannabis overdose may lead to an unintentional injury like a motor vehicle crash, fall, or poisoning.

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Remedies for Marijuana Overconsumption

When you or a loved one overdoses on marijuana, a visit to the emergency room may be necessary. If your loved one is experiencing a psychotic break due to a cannabis overdose, keeping them safe is essential.

For milder cases, try hydrating with lemon water. This helps neutralize terpenes and deals with the hydrating effects of THC. In many cases, treating marijuana intoxication is a waiting game.

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Paranoia or psychosis may occur in extreme cases, so it is essential to soothe, reassure, and place the affected individual in a safe and comfortable environment.

Other Effects & Risks Associated with Marijuana Use

Here are other effects and risks linked with marijuana use:

Behavioral Effects

Researchers from the University of Toronto gathered 124 studies from 1995 to 2020 that assessed how recreational marijuana use had adverse consequences on behavior. 5 They identified four main areas where cannabis had negative implications on mental health.

The researchers discovered that marijuana addiction impacts specific areas of cognition, including memory, decision-making, and attention. They found that high marijuana drug use led to more significant lapses in memory, particularly among those who started using marijuana as adolescents.

They also discovered that cognitive impairments happening while users were high were more significant among participants who had not developed a tolerance to marijuana.

Psychological Effects

Long-term marijuana use has been associated with mental illness in some cannabis users, including: 2

  • Hallucinations
  • Paranoia
  • Worsening symptoms in patients with schizophrenia—a severe mental health disorder with symptoms such as hallucinations, paranoia, and disorganized thinking

Substance use disorders like marijuana addiction have also been linked to other mental health issues. These issues include depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts.

However, it is essential to understand that study findings are mixed.

Psychosocial Effects

An extensive set of data demonstrates that when young people use cannabis consistently during their development, they are less likely to complete high school and are less likely to finish a college degree.

Adolescents who use marijuana regularly are less likely to go to class, finish their homework, or achieve and value good grades. Evidence also suggests that those who use marijuana early in life, and continue to use it frequently, have less economic success than the general population.

One study in New Zealand followed a group of children through middle adulthood while tailing their marijuana use. 4

Participants were more likely to use weed chronically as adults if:

  • Their parents used it
  • They had a conduct disorder
  • They were classified as novelty-seeking
  • They experienced trauma as a child

Additionally, those who used marijuana commonly as adults were more likely to have mental disorders and abuse other drugs.

Health Effects

Consistent cannabis use can lead to many serious health problems in the long term.

Smoking weed irritates the lungs, and people who smoke it often can develop the same breathing problems as those who smoke tobacco. These issues may include daily cough and phlegm, more frequent lung illness, and a higher risk of lung infections.

However, researchers have not yet found a higher risk for lung cancer in people who smoke cannabis.

Marijuana use also increases heart rate for up to three hours after smoking. The effect may heighten the chance of heart attack. Older people and those with heart issues may be at higher risk.

Cannabis use may also cause problems with child development during and after pregnancy.

In one study of dispensaries, nonmedical staff members at marijuana dispensaries recommended cannabis to pregnant women for nausea. However, medical experts warn against this.

This is because cannabis use during pregnancy is associated with lower birth weight and an increased risk of brain and behavioral issues in babies. If a pregnant woman uses cannabis, the drug may affect specific developing parts of the baby’s brain.

Babies exposed to marijuana in the womb have an increased risk of issues with attention, memory, and problem-solving compared to unexposed babies.

Some research also shows that moderate amounts of THC can reach the breast milk of nursing mothers. With consistent use, THC can hit amounts in breast milk that could affect the child’s developing brain.

Other research suggests an increased risk of preterm births. However, more studies are necessary.

Finally, regular, long-term cannabis use can lead some people to develop Cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome (CHS). This condition causes some people to experience regular cycles of severe nausea, dehydration, and vomiting. It can require a visit to the emergency room.

Signs of Marijuana Use

Marijuana is an addictive drug. Signs that an individual is using cannabis may or may not be clear to loved ones.

Signs of marijuana use are linked to the psychological, physical, and behavioral shifts in the person who is using marijuana.

Here are some commonly observed signs:

  • Red eyes
  • Eating or excessive eating outside of typical meal or snack times
  • Poorer performance in school, work, and/or in meeting responsibilities at home
  • Withdrawing from friends, family, coworkers, and/or classmates
  • Spending time with people who use marijuana or substances
  • Buying cannabis products, such as bongs and rolling papers, to smoke marijuana
  • Conducting online research on various types of marijuana and highs, such as waxes, tinctures, and edibles
  • Using slang terms for marijuana like weed, pot, bud, and cannabis
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Treatment Options for Marijuana Use

Treating marijuana abuse with standard treatments, including medications and behavioral therapies, may help reduce cannabis use. 7 This is especially among those involved with excessive use and those with chronic mental health disorders.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) teaches people strategies to understand and correct problematic behaviors to improve self-control, stop drug use, and address various other problems that may co-occur with them.

Contingency management is another type of treatment to help with marijuana use. The therapeutic management approach is based on consistent monitoring of the target behavior and providing or removing positive rewards when the target behavior happens or does not happen.

Another option is motivational enhancement therapy. This treatment is a systematic form of intervention designed to create rapid, internally motivated change. This therapy does not try to treat the person but instead mobilizes their internal resources for change.

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You Might Not Overdose on Cannabis, But You Can Still Overdo It

closeup of cannabis flower

Can you overdose on cannabis? This question is controversial, even among people who frequently use cannabis. Some people believe cannabis is as dangerous as opioids or stimulants, while others believe it’s completely harmless and has no side effects.

You can’t overdose on cannabis in the way that you can overdose on, say, opioids. To date, there have not been any reported deaths resulting solely from cannabis use, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

But that doesn’t mean you can’t overdo it or have a bad reaction to cannabis.

There isn’t a straightforward answer here because everybody’s different. Some people seem to tolerate cannabis well, while others don’t tolerate it well at all. Cannabis products also vary greatly in their potency.

Edibles, however, seem to be more likely to cause a negative reaction. This is partly because they take a long time to kick in.

After eating an edible, it can be anywhere from 20 minutes to 2 hours before you start to feel the effects. In the meantime, many people end up eating more because they mistakenly believe the edibles are weak.

Mixing cannabis with alcohol can also cause a negative reaction for some people.

Cannabis products containing high levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the chemical that makes you feel “high” or impaired, can also cause a bad reaction in some people, especially those who don’t use cannabis often.

Cannabis can have quite a few less-than-desirable side effects, including:

  • confusion
  • thirstiness or a dry mouth (aka “cotton mouth”)
  • concentration problems
  • slower reaction times
  • dry eyes
  • fatigue or lethargy
  • headaches
  • dizziness
  • increased heart rate
  • anxiety and other changes in mood

In rarer cases, it can also cause:

  • hallucinations
  • paranoia and panic attacks
  • nausea and vomiting

These side effects can last anywhere from 20 minutes to a full day. In general, cannabis that’s higher in THC is associated with more severe, long-lasting effects. And yes, it’s possible to wake up with a “weed hangover” the following day.

If you or a friend has overindulged, there are a few things you can do to reduce the unpleasant side effects.

Relax

If you’re feeling anxious, it’s good to self-soothe by telling yourself that you’ll be OK. Remind yourself that nobody has ever died from a cannabis overdose.

It might not feel like it right now, but these symptoms will pass.

Eat something

If you’re feeling nauseated or shaky, try to have a snack. This might be the last thing you want to do, especially if you also have dry mouth, but it makes a big difference for some people.

Drink water

Speaking of dry mouth, make sure you drink plenty of liquids. This is especially important if you’re vomiting, which can dehydrate you.

If you’re panicking, try slowly sipping water to help ground yourself.

Sleep it off

Sometimes, the best thing to do is wait for the effects to subside. Sleeping or resting is a good way to pass time while you wait for the cannabis to work its way out of your system.

Avoid overstimulation

If too much is happening around you, it can make you anxious and even paranoid.

Switch off the music or TV, leave the crowd, and try to relax in a calm environment, like an empty bedroom or bathroom.

Chew or sniff black peppercorns

Anecdotally, many people swear that black peppercorns can soothe the side effects of overindulging in cannabis, especially anxiety and paranoia.

According to research , black peppercorns contain caryophyllene, which might weaken the uncomfortable effects of THC. But this remedy hasn’t been rigorously studied, and there is no evidence in humans to support it.

Call a friend

It may be helpful to call a friend who has experience with cannabis. They may be able to talk you through the unpleasant experience and calm you down.

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Alex Koliada, PhD

Alex Koliada, PhD

Alex Koliada, PhD, is a well-known doctor. He is famous for his studies of ageing, genetics and other medical conditions. He works at the Institute of Food Biotechnology and Genomics NAS of Ukraine. His scientific researches are printed by the most reputable international magazines. Some of his works are: Differences in the gut Firmicutes to Bacteroidetes ratio across age groups in healthy Ukrainian population [BiomedCentral.com]; Mating status affects Drosophila lifespan, metabolism and antioxidant system [Science Direct]; Anise Hyssop Agastache foeniculum Increases Lifespan, Stress Resistance, and Metabolism by Affecting Free Radical Processes in Drosophila [Frontiersin].
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