Marijuana is a highly used drug all over the world for both recreational and medicinal use. It comes from the “cannabis” plant and can be used in foods or smoked. Depending on how potent the strain is, the effects can be short-term and long term. There is a chance of overdose from marijuana if too much of the drug is used. However, can you die from ingesting too much Marijuana? Let’s take a look at the effects of marijuana and what an overdose might feel like.
Can You Overdose On Marijuana?
Effect of Ingesting Too Much Marijuana --“Greening Out”
A temporary overdose of marijuana can occur and is called “greening out.” It is important to understand that a temporary overdose of marijuana will not result in permanent disability or death, but can be quite common in people who have not used the drug often. The following are the symptoms of too much marijuana in the system:
- Temporary feelings of paranoia, fear and anxiety
- Shortness of breath
- Pupil dilation
- Vomiting and/or nausea
- Fast heart rate
- Shaking that is hard to control, feeling cold
- Disorientation or hallucinations
This phenomenon passes on its own within minutes to hours of marijuana use. If the symptoms are severe, medical attention needs to be obtained to make sure the user is closely observed for complications. There is a chance that some marijuana obtained on the street could contain stronger chemicals and drugs that could cause a person to become very ill. In this case, someone could suffer from dangerous side effects. There is also a slight risk of using too much marijuana with underlying health conditions and suffering severe reactions to the drug.
How to Treat Marijuana Overdose Symptoms
Slight cases of “greening out” will usually go away on its own in a few hours without treatment. Keep an eye on the person and offer fluids and rest. Watch for symptoms that warrant further medical care such as; trouble breathing, pale skin color, fast heart rate and unresponsiveness. Take the person to the nearest emergency room or call 911.
Medical personnel will focus the treatment on alleviating the symptoms. They can give anti-anxiety medications, medications to control the heart rate and blood pressure. Intravenous fluids may be administered and they will be watched in a controlled environment with doctors standing by to handle any further health complications.
Can You Die from Marijuana Overdose?
Death Is Not Likely
There are actually very few documented cases of death by a marijuana overdose. For the most part, THC (the drug in marijuana) has never been thought of as a deadly drug. In the few instances that death has occurred with marijuana use it has been attribute to other drug use or the health condition of the individual. THC is so low in potency that very large amounts would need to be taken to cause a dangerous overdose.
A fatal marijuana overdose in humans would take 40,000 times the amount of THC that it took to get them high in the first place. In comparison, it would only take 5 to 10 times the amount of alcohol to get drunk to kill a human. If you can get drunk on 3 beers, then 15 to 30 beers can cause death. If you inhale 3 puffs of marijuana smoke and get high, then you would have to take 120,000 puffs of marijuana smoke to be fatal. In this sense, it is nearly impossible to die from an overdose of marijuana. Again, it depends on the purity of the marijuana and the health status of the individual so these amounts may vary depending on the situation.
Support from A Scientific Study
There have been a number of scientific studies on the main chemical in marijuana, THC. This drug is a cannabinoid and in the field of science known as, tetrahydrocannabinol. These studies are pretty conclusive on the fact that THC is a “psychoactive” substance and can cause people to become high when ingested, but they have not found any evidence that it is toxic to the body.
In order to determine how much of a drug would be fatal, scientists came up with a formula known as “lethal dosage.” They then test a substance until 50% of the test animals in the lab die. The formula is known as the LD-50. With this formula, it shows that very small animals such as; rats and mice, can take in as much as 1000mg per kilogram before they die. Larger animals did not even reach the LD-50 even giving them as much as 3000mg per kilogram of body weight.
What this means is that a person who weighs 140 pounds or about 63 kilograms would need to take in over 4 pounds of marijuana at once to reach the same levels as the large animal study and this still would has not been proven to be a fatal dosage. These studies have been ongoing over 30 years and researchers have yet to see a severe adverse event with the drug.
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What Are The Dangers Of Smoking Marijuana?
Marijuana can have a few dangers that you need to know about. While it won’t cause death it can have some short-term and long-term effects on your body and your life. Let’s take a look at the dangers of marijuana use:
Marijuana does have some side-effects that can be slightly uncomfortable for some people. These include:
- Anxiety and panic attacks
- Memory loss
- Slowed and impaired thinking
- Slowed judgement
- Slowed muscle and coordination
- Cardiac complications for people with heart disease and high blood pressure
- Driving impairment for up to 24 hours after ingestion
- Issues with learning and memory
- Decreased fertility
- Increases in mental illness