Let’s say you’ve consumed a little too much cannabis. Perhaps you ate an edible not knowing it contained THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). Or maybe you took one too many puffs of that potent Field Trip flower.
Now, you might wonder if it’s possible to overdose on weed. If this applies to you, good news … the odds are in your favor that you will be alright. Before we answer the question of if you can overdose on weed – it is important to recognize that the word has a couple of meanings.
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, when used as a noun, overdose can mean: (1.) Too great of a dose, or (2.) A lethal or toxic amount. When used as a verb, overdose means: to give or take too many doses.1
So, when someone asks, “Can I overdose on cannabis?” – there are two answers.
Gif by: Giphy
Can You Overdose on Cannabis?
Like most things related to cannabis, there is no single answer that applies to everyone. This is certainly the case when it comes to the question about overdosing on cannabis.
The answer you get will also depend on who you ask.
Someone with a somewhat outdated way of thinking might say that cannabis is just as dangerous as heroin since both are classified as Schedule 1 substances by the Federal Government.
To give you an idea of how ridiculous this classification might be, consider that oxycodone and fentanyl – which are at the heart of the opioid crisis in the United States – are classified as Schedule 2 substances.
With these classifications, the Federal Government is essentially stating that cannabis is more dangerous than oxycodone or fentanyl. This thought can be difficult for many to process, considering data from the National Institutes of Health shows that in 2020 alone, there were 16,416 overdose deaths in the U.S. involving prescription opiates like oxycodone and fentanyl.2
The report from the NIH did not have a chart indicating the number of overdoses from cannabis. So, that brings up the question …
Has Anyone Ever Died Solely from Cannabis Use?
The term overdose might bring up images of someone who has taken too much of a drug and passed away as a result. So, if you came to this blog to find out if anyone’s death has been attributed exclusively to cannabis, the answer is no.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, there have been no deaths that have resulted solely from cannabis use.3
With that said, however, there have been cases where people with underlying health issues have mixed alcohol or drugs with cannabis and have died. In these types of cases cannabis has been listed as being a possible contributor to death – not the sole cause.
Is It Possible to Take Too Large of A Dose?
Although it’s unlikely that you could die from consuming too much cannabis, it is possible to take too large of a dose. If this happens you could experience some unfavorable side effects.
A slight overdose can lead to things like anxiety, nausea, and feeling lethargic – it helps to portion your doses if you’re not sure about the potency!
Although rare, a more significant overdose can result in things like increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure, paranoia, hallucinations, and delusions – although these types of reactions are rare.
If you have a heart condition, or have mixed alcohol or drugs with cannabis, and experience these types of side effects, then you should seek immediate medical attention.
How to Avoid Taking Too Large of a Dose
As you read on, you’ll discover tips that can help you avoid taking too large of a dose of cannabis. And, if you happen to overdo it, we also share tips to help you manage some of those unfavorable effects.
Often, when it comes to people taking too large of a dose, it happens when people try edibles for the first time. Let’s take a look at why this might be the case.
Smoking vs. Edibles
Much of the confusion when it comes to finding the right dose of edibles often comes as a result of the difference in how long it takes to feel their effects.
When you smoke or vape your weed, most will feel the effects within a few minutes . This is because the THC in the smoke or vape is able to be quickly absorbed by your lungs.
With edibles, it can take much longer. That’s because it takes longer for the THC in your cannabis to be processed by your liver and enter your bloodstream.
Once the effects do kick in, however, they can tend to be stronger and last longer compared to smoking.
Can You Overdose on Weed Edibles?
Here’s a common scenario for those new to edibles. You take an edible and wait about 20-30 minutes. You don’t feel anything and might get impatient. So, you take another dose. Shortly after, you start to feel the effects.
You feel great, but once that second edible kicks in, the effects may be too much for you.
So, once again the answer is yes. You can take too large of a dose (aka overdose) on marijuana edibles. But it is unlikely that the overdose will lead to death.
What You Need to Know About Edibles
When consumed responsibly, edibles can provide a more complete cannabis experience and can help you enjoy the effects of your cannabis longer. So, here are a couple of things you should know to help you avoid overdoing it.
How Long It Takes for The Effects of Edibles to Kick In
Depending on a number of factors including the type of edible, its potency, your metabolism, and your tolerance–it can take anywhere from twenty minutes to two hours to feel the effects.
An exception to this is hard candy and tinctures, which may only take 15 to 45 minutes to kick in.
Since the candy and tincture dissolve in your mouth, THC is absorbed through the lining under your tongue (sublingually) and can enter your bloodstream quicker.
Different Types of Cannabis Edibles
When someone hears the term “weed edible,” many think about baked goods like pot brownies or cannabis cookies. But, when it comes to edibles, the different ways you can consume your cannabis go far beyond just baked goods to include things like gummies, chocolates, and tinctures.
Baked goods like pot brownies, cookies, and even cakes are often baked with THC infused butter or oils. Click here to check out our Bloom Style Cannabutter Recipe.
A word of caution for those making their own baked goods. Baking with cannabis at home can result in varying amounts of THC in your edibles – making it harder to control the dosage.
So, if you decide to go this route, we highly recommend starting slow with your dosage. Enjoy a small piece and wait a couple of hours to let the effects fully kick in before deciding if you want more.
Edibles purchased at a dispensary, will be much more consistent in their dosages and serving sizes.
THC gummies are small, bite-sized chewy snacks infused with THC.
Gummies are among the most popular ways people enjoy THC edibles. They usually come in a range of fruity flavors and offer cannabis fans a discrete and easy way to enjoy their weed.
Gummies come in a range of different doses. One popular dosage is 10 mg of THC. Although this dose might be right for someone who has enjoyed cannabis for some time, it could be too much for a newbie.
You may have heard that chocolate edibles tend to have stronger effects than gummies and that may be true for some.
That’s because cannabinoids are lipophilic – meaning they dissolve in fats, oils, or lipids. Without fats, they won’t fully dissolve, and you won’t be able to enjoy the full effects of your edibles.
That is why enjoying chocolate edibles that might include fats from nuts and milk can enhance your high.
Click here to learn more about Foods that Enhance Your High.
Although tinctures are not technically edible products, they can be used to create your own THC infused edibles and drinks.
Tinctures are concentrated extracts that use alcohol to extract THC from cannabis plant matter. One nice thing about tinctures is that they offer an easy way to control your dosage.
Click here to learn more about The Different Types of Marijuana Edibles.
How to Avoid Overdosing on Weed Edibles
When you consume an edible, it will take some time for the THC to make its way into your bloodstream. First, the edible must be broken down in your stomach. Then the THC has to make its way through your digestive tract and into your liver before it hits your bloodstream.
Although this process takes longer than smoking or vaping, once the THC enters your liver, it is converted into 11-hydroxy-THC which is considered to be stronger than THC. That’s why it is a good idea to wait 2-3 hours to allow the full effects of your edible to kick in, before thinking about taking another dose.
It’s also important to allow plenty of time for the effects of your edible to pass before trying to get back to any activities that require mental clarity and focus, like driving, operating heavy machinery, or going to work.
How Much Weed is Too Much?
We keep talking about what can happen if you enjoy too much cannabis. So, let’s take a moment to consider how much is too much? Once again, the answer to this question will be different for all.
If you are new to edibles, then you may want to start with about 2.5 mg to 5 mg and build from there. Those who are more experienced with consuming edibles may be able to start with a dose of 10 mg. This is actually a pretty standard dosage for edibles available at a dispensary.
Anything over 20 mg can produce intense effects and is only suitable for the more experienced.
Once again, it’s worth emphasizing the importance of waiting a couple of hours before even considering taking another edible.
What to Do If You Get Too High on Weed
So, what happens if you consume too much, and you suddenly feel like you’ve become too high?
First, you should take a deep breath and realize that this will pass. Unless you have a serious medical condition, or have mixed cannabis with alcohol or drugs, then you will most likely be okay.
Next, there are some foods and drinks that can help alleviate your unpleasant feelings.
Believe it or not, munching on a couple of black pepper balls could help. That’s because the terpenes found in black pepper – pinene, myrcene, and beta-caryophyllene – can help to reduce feelings of anxiety and help calm you down.
Since pine nuts also contain pinene, eating some pine nuts after over-consumption can also have a similar effect.
The terpenes found in lemons have also been found to help smooth out any potential unpleasant effects of consuming too much THC. So, a glass of water with some fresh squeezed lemon could also help.4
Click here to learn more about terpenes and their potential health benefits.
Terpenes Can be Just as Important as THC Percentage
Everyone’s experience with cannabis will vary. Instead of focusing exclusively on strain type or THC percentage, it’s just as important to find the balance of cannabinoids and terpenes that work best with your endocannabinoid system.
Doing so could help to unlock your body’s natural healing power. This is why Bloom Medicinals would like to offer you the chance to schedule a free, one-on-one consultation.
During this consultation, our patient care specialists will get to know you, your qualifying conditions, any medications you might be taking, activity level, and any effects you’re seeking – or looking to avoid.
By doing so, we can help you identify the consumption methods and forms of cannabis that might be best for you. Take the first step toward an improved quality of life by calling to schedule your free consultation at a Bloom Medicinals dispensary near you!