If you’re a novice medical cannabis user, there is the slight risk of biting off more than you can chew; literally and figuratively. Consuming too much marijuana can provide unwanted and undesirable side effects that can deter someone from obtaining the optimal treatment results for their given medical condition. While over-consumption is referred to as (for lack of a better term) “overdosing”, we want to stress one fact. In all of recorded history, there have been ZERO deaths that have been the result of overdosing on marijuana. It is estimated that it would require ingesting 1,500 pounds of cannabis in a span of 30 minutes in order to die from it. In other words… a cannabis overdose is basically impossible. However, this does not mean that smoking or eating mass amounts of it is devoid of negative side effects; especially for inexperienced medical marijuana (MMJ) patients.
A cannabis overdose is often referred to as “greening out”. First and foremost, don’t panic. You’ll want to remind yourself that although what you are experiencing may be unpleasant, your health is not at risk. Stay calm, find a quiet place, and take deep breaths. Keep in mind that the effects will start to go away in a number of minutes or hours (depending on the strain and method of ingestion). You will likely feel groggy and may even excessively sweat.
Some patients try to sleep it off, but others may find it hard to “turn their brains off”. In this case, some find that fresh air and a brisk walk can do wonders. But as a safety precaution, don’t walk if you are feeling dizzy or too disoriented, and never go for a walk alone or in an unfamiliar area.
First-time users are urged to it slow and gauge the effects that it has on your body. Everyone has different reactions to marijuana based on a number of factors and tolerance levels can greatly vary from person to person. For edibles, start with a 5mg dose to ease into it, then wait at least two hours before your next dosage or before increasing your dosage. Give your body time to react and time for yourself to see its impact on your medical condition. For inhalation, take one puff, and wait 10-20 minutes to see how it affects you before smoking more. This rule-of-thumb applies to vaporizing as well.
Especially during the hot summer months, hydration is crucial for ideal health. Proper water intake can treat and/or cure many ailments, and the same goes if you’ve taken in too much cannabis. Not only should you drink 8-10 tall glasses of water daily, but you’ll want to consume an adequate amount prior to using your medication. This will help prevent excessive dry mouth as well as decrease the cannabinoid levels (like THC and CBD) in your blood. Dehydration can be exacerbated by caffeine, an abundance of salty foods, and alcohol; which can cause even more adverse effects on your medication. Alcohol use, especially for those who are inexperienced, should be minimized in conjunction with cannabis.
No, this is not an old wives’ tale. Black peppercorns actually help if you are having symptoms of anxiety or paranoia. Chewing on a few peppercorns provides instant relief, in moderation of course.
Depending on your body temperature at the time, some patients find relief in taking a warm/cool bath or shower. The sensation of the water can regulate body temperature and reduce some of the angst. But again, as a safety measure, don’t take a bath or shower if you are feeling overly drowsy or disoriented.
The majority of cannabis overdose cases are the result of consuming too much Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC (the psychoactive compound in marijuana). One way that many people find success in remedying this is by counteracting it with Cannabidiol, or CBD (the marijuana compound that produces no psychoactive, or “stoned”, sensations). CBD can be found in a variety of cannabis oils or extracts used for vaporizing or even as tinctures that are applied underneath the tongue. It has excellent anti-anxiety properties that can bring you down from the extreme high.
But be careful! Cannabidiol itself may not be ideal for certain patients, depending on their particular medical condition, and some CBD products are actually hybrids that also contain various THC contents. Any additional amounts of THC introduced into your body while experiencing an overdose with inevitably make it worse. So always consult with your doctor and local dispensary expert to determine which strains and products are appropriate for you and your specific symptoms.
As previously stated, everyone reacts to the compounds in marijuana differently. Which means the ways you can counteract a cannabis overdose also vary. The most important thing is to keep calm, rest, and remain in a comfortable and familiar environment until you come down from it. You’ll be fine! And if anything, you’ll walk away from the experience more wise about your tolerance and how to better approach your medication in future sessions. Just like with any other newly prescribed medication, dosage control is key.
Thanks for reading! We hope this article has proven to be helpful to all of our patients and followers. And for even more cannabis news, tips and useful information, be sure to check out the MedWell Health & Wellness Centers Twitter feed!