Marijuana is the most abused drug in the United States, particularly among young people, according to the National Institute of Drug Abuse. A total of 17,465 people died from overdosing on illicit drugs like heroin and cocaine last year, while 25,760 people died from overdosing on prescription drugs, including painkillers and tranquilizers like Valium, according to CDC figures.
Yes, it is possible to overdose on marijuana, but very hard for it to kill you. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration writes in Drugs of Abuse, “No deaths from overdose of marijuana have been reported.”
An overdose on marijuana is unlike an overdose on other drugs because marijuana consumption, in and of itself, is not life-threatening. But using too much of the drug can have dangerous results, which may increase the risk of death.
What is a Marijuana Overdose?
Someone who consumes a lot of marijuana may become unaware of their surroundings, which in turn can lead to accidental death or serious injury. Marijuana intoxication can have serious side effects such as, panic, paranoia, or acute psychosis. Persons that are having a psychotic episode may put themselves in dangerous situations because of their mental confusion and disengagement.
Side effects from marijuana varies from person to person depending on the amount of cannabis consumed. Marijuana is a difficult drug to predict how much is too much. People who use vaporizers, or pipes to smoke cannabis may be affected differently from those that consume it in food. Edible cannabis like brownies, cookies, muffins etc, can be potent as well. But there is a delayed effect which can take hours to see the full effect. Because of this delay, people tend to keep consuming the edibles thinking that it’s not affecting them.
Possible signs of a marijuana overdose or excessive consumption may include:
- Rapid heart rate
- Mental confusion
- Panic attack
Marijuana is often laced with hallucinogens or other dangerous drugs, that can have more serious side effects than marijuana. These can include cardiac arrest, seizures, stroke or heart attack.
Lethal Dose Marijuana limits
Researchers use the LD50 measure to describe the dose of a drug that would kill 50% of the population. For alcohol the LD50 is 10 drinks (ie: 1 shot, beer, wine, etc..). For heroin the lethal dose is 5 times the effective dose.
The lethal dose for marijuana is estimated to be 40,000 times the effective dose. Someone would have to take 40,000 times the normal amount of marijuana in order to die. Overdosing and dying from marijuana is physically impossible.
A lethal dose of marijuana in humans is not possible. A human cannot consume the quantity of marijuana required in order to kill them.
Never purchase marijuana off the street, you never know what it might have been laced with. Dealers spike their inferior products in order to enhance the quality, making it very dangerous for those that are buying.
Studies suggest that it is not possible to die from smoking too much marijuana, no one has ever died from a marijuana overdose. But there is always the possibility of indirect death.
You cannot overdose and die from smoking too much marijuana.
But it is possible to consume too much and overdose causing a “greening out” also known as “whiting out”. This term is used when a person feels sick after smoking cannabis. They start to turn pale often turning pale or green, they feel nauseous, dizzy and may even start vomiting. This usually occurs with new smokers or people that consume too many edibles.
If you ever have a marijuana overdose make sure you are with a friend or friends (hopefully they are not overdosed) keep hydrated and calm and eventually after the peak of the high is reached your symptoms will start to subside. If you feel worse or are alone with no help seek medical attention.