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Can you overdose on marijuana?

Although impossible to have a toxic overdose of marijuana, it is quite possible to consume more weed than necessary. When you smoke too much marijuana or eat too much pot-based food, you can manifest symptoms of ataxia/dizziness, sweating, nausea, vomiting, possible crying, and sometimes a sensation of dying. But don’t be concerned; ingesting too much marijuana is not fatal or injurious to any organs.

How do you recognize and treat symptoms of marijuana overdose? We review here. Then, we invite your questions about a marijuana overdose at the end.

Can you overdose on marijuana?

Yes and no. If you’re asking if you can overdose and die from marijuana: the answer is no, its not very likely. However, you can experience extreme anxiety (panic attacks) or psychotic reactions (where you lose touch with reality and may become paranoid) after consuming high potency marijuana strains with high levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Additionally, people can and do injure themselves because of marijuana’s effects on judgment, perception, and coordination. Further, marijuana accents the effects of other drugs; this is why mixing marijuana and alcohol can lead to a high level of intoxication, risky behavior and/or intensified effects of drinking.

What happens when you overdose on marijuana?

When a temporary overdose of marijuana occurs, it 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:

  • disorientation
  • fast heart rate
  • hallucinations
  • pupil dilation
  • shaking that is hard to control, feeling cold
  • shortness of breath
  • temporary feelings of paranoia, fear and anxiety
  • vomiting and/or nausea

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.

How much marijuana is too much?

It is difficult to establish marijuana potency levels, due to the variation in types of marijuana users consume. Simply put, until more refined and purified cannabinoid preparations are available, it will simply not be possible to derive a more specific or exact dosing schedule, let alone be able to predict overdose amounts. Additional factors such as age, general health, exposure to marijuana, marijuana tolerance levels, etc. contribute to an individual’s overdose level.  For example, a long-term cannabis user may require significantly larger amounts of cannabis than an initiate to achieve desired effect.

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However, if you find yourself in any of these scenarios, perhaps it is time to take a break and re-evaluate your recreational marijuana usage:

1. Your health goes downhill

Long term effects of using marijuana can include reduced immune system response as well as cognitive changes in the brain. Consider also that there have been links between marijuana and brain damage, as well as other long term effects. So while you might be avoiding acute overdose, long term effects still take a toll on your physical and mental health.

2. You can’t shake that wheezing cough

You’re not likely to risk lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease like a cigarette smoker, but frequent, heavy marijuana use by smoking can lead to an irritated throat and lungs. Consider switching to vaporization or using edibles until your lungs can recover.

3. You’re blowing off your responsibilities

Being a responsible cannabis consumer means your personal use of marijuana doesn’t negatively affect fulfilling your responsibilities at work, at school, and as a parent, roommate and spouse.

4. You’re not getting high anymore

Increased tolerance can signal dependence on marijuana. And when physical dependence is present, psychological dependence may also be indicated. If you’ve stopped getting high on marijuana, it might be time to consider a break.  Dealing with psycho-emotional issues which compel use can help you avoid the need for marijuana.

Marijuana overdose help

So what can you do if you suspect you’ve OD’d on marijuana? Less serious cases of “greening out” will usually go away on their 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.

Overdose on marijuana questions

Still have questions about overdosing on marijuana? Please leave your questions below. We’ll do our best to respond to your question personally and promptly.

Reference Sources: DrugFactsWeek: Marijuana
NewHealthGuide: Can You Overdose On Marijuana?
Department of Justice: Marijuana Data Fact Sheet
Cannabis culture: Too Much Marijuana

Photo credit: MoonChilde-Stock

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28 Responses to “Can you overdose on marijuana?
Kyle
5:45 pm August 30th, 2014

Wow. Just wow. There’s so many things wrong with this article that I can’t even begin. Do not tell people they need medical help when they have consumed too much ‘marijuana’, tell them they need to take a nap and sleep it off. or at least lay down. This article has so much false information, it’s ridiculous.

3:09 pm September 1st, 2014

Hi Kyle. There are people out there with medical conditions that just isn’t safe for them to sleep it off. Imagine a kid smoking for the first time and over-doing it! It’s better to seek help and be careful, than to hurt yourself or someone else unintentionally.

Alison
5:45 pm September 2nd, 2014

How long does it take for marijuana to be clear during a drug test?

6:43 pm September 3rd, 2014

Hello Alison, The length of time THC and its metabolites can be detected in the system depends on the length of time you’ve been using marijuana and at what doses. Casual users have a detection window of a few days or more, while chronic users can be tested and detected for weeks or months later.

andy
8:00 am December 19th, 2014

Ivana @ Addiction Blog. bullsh*t marijuana is one of the most non-toxic drugs ever, if you smoke too much you wont “hurt any one else unintentionally” you’ll just feel sick at worst, no one has EVER got too high and beat there wife.

3:25 pm December 23rd, 2014

Hi Andy. My exact words were “Imagine a kid smoking for the first time and over-doing it! It’s better to seek help and be careful, than to hurt yourself or someone else unintentionally”-meaning getting into an accident or doing something dangerous. No wife beating! And while I also didn’t get into the toxicity of marijuana, I said that there are people with medical conditions that shouldn’t just ignore the occurrence of side-effects from marijuana and sleep it off.

jimbo
11:48 pm February 14th, 2015

I made some edibles for the first time yesterday. I’ve been a heavy daily smoker for over 10 years so ate quite a lot thinking I would be able to take a big dose… HUGE mistake! Initially went to sleep feeling lovely then woke up an hour or so later with my hard beating so fast and hard it scared the shit out of me…. I then went really pale and clammy, breathing was out of control. Couldn’t stop moving around, it almost felt like like my muscles had a mind of their own… Then came the voices… I don’t really remember what they said, was like a constant invasive narrative – horrible! General paranoia and a horrendous panic attack developed – I never thought this was possible with the green! Anyways, having had a fair bit of narc experience I was able to keep myself from going fully crazy, although it felt uncontrollable at times as it was like I was being pumped full of adrenaline constantly…

An hour later I got to the point where the waves of panic had subsided and was able to control breathing again… Went to sleep for a straight 12 hours, woke up and still felt crazy so went back to bed and slept all day. Just starting to feel something like normal a full 26 hours later!

Think I’ll stick to toking from now on… :p

1:59 pm February 16th, 2015

Hi Jimbo. Many people experience similar effects from eating it. I hope you are ok now. If you are still not feeling quite normal you might want to check in with a doctor.

RONNIE
2:54 am February 17th, 2015

I need help.. I had a morphine pump installed in 2005. everything went fine, the doctor even gave me break through Oxycodone.i HAVE HAD TEN BACK SURGERYS AND WAS LIVING IN MIDLAND TX I told him I had to move to Austin near family about nine hours away from where I was in Lubbock, TX. He told me he was setting me up with Pantech who comes to your home and the nurse injects it in my pump. He said he couldnt give me oxycodone since I was moving. I never failed one of his urine test or did anything I wasnnt supposed to do. I thought I could find a pain doctor here that would give me my breakthrough meds. I did and while I was in the hospital with prostate and bladder surgery without my knowledge my brother had my take home meds filled from hospital .. One was hydrocodne. So I took it un opened and still stapled to him and he though a fir , I didnt take any, throw them in the trash, he said he couldnt but for me not to take them I didnt.Well a few weeks later the day before thanksgiving I fell off a ladder and broke my Tibia and femur. its against the law to bring your meds to the hospital they provided the meds and I was 10 over he through another fit, that was my second visit to see him. on the next visit he said no more pain pills and was going to raise my morphine pump 15 mg and I was so upset because he was hollering and scared he was going to raise it double the amount going in my spine I walked out.Now he wont see me anymore. My doctor from Lubbock that writes prescriptions to Pantech quit because I went and seen this pain doctor but he said he couldnt provide the breakthrough meds. Now I have three weeks left and my pump runs out, Im out of breakthrough meds and cant get anymore and Im scared. I have no one to manage my morphine pump. Do you know anyone that can help me in Austin TX? I dont want to die, I have Lung problems, COPD and BRONCHIECTASIS, i HAVE AN ENLARGED HEART AND ALSO HAVE A SMALL ANURYSM IN THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART, NEUROTHAPY, FIBROMYALGIA AND HAVE HAD TEN BACK SURGERYS. i HAVE CALLED SO MANY PAIN DOCTORS THEY WONT EVEN ALLOW ME TO TELL THEM THE WHOLE STORY. PLEASE FORWARD OR REFER ME TO SOMEONE. I HAVE BEEN THROUGH WITHDRAWALS ONCE BEFORE WHEN A LINE BROKE IN MY MORPHINE PUMP i AM 57 YEARS OLD AND KNOW I CANT GO THROUGH THIS WITHDRAWAL AGAIN. THANK YOU

11:55 pm March 11th, 2015

Hello Ronnie. That’s terrible! How are you doing now? I managed to locate some pain management doctors online. You can check out the following links to search the pain management doctors in Austin TX directories: http://goo.gl/P7tYoc and http://goo.gl/9E05bx I’m I cannot personally refer you to anyone in particular. I hope you can find a doctor who will be willing to manage your condition. Good luck!

Ash
6:04 am March 27th, 2015

Your all so uneducated – please understand how stupid you sound.

Kat
7:05 pm May 9th, 2015

I’ve actually overdosed. My “shaking ” was actually seizures, and my vomiting was projectile… My heart rate was through the roof. Mind you I was 15 at the time of consumption and had no idea there was even mj in that cookie. All because of one little cookie. Ever since then I just can’t have a lot without my back hurting and starting to shake. And I’m 23 now living in Washington state. Sad times… I don’t agree with a lot of what’s in this article, but the overdose symptoms were correct.

Pauly
4:31 am May 12th, 2015

I love articles like this just to see all the angry pot-heads crawl out from their holes and blast science and medicine. I’m sure they believe in the concluded science of global warming too. Lemmings.

Nervous
5:23 pm May 29th, 2015

Hi,

I recently took ~25 mg of marijuana of an unknown strain (but purchased from a dispensary) in the form of brownies. It was my first time trying marijuana and I didn’t realize how bad a mistake it was until afterwards. I experienced extreme paranoia, increased heart rate, slight shaking, persistent lapses in short term memory, and it was everything I could do to not pass out. I thought I was going to die and wanted to go to a hospital, but my friend waited it out with me.

That was Wednesday the 27th at 2 pm. Two days later at 9 AM, I am worried because I still feel groggy, am a little confused, and am also anxious and a little paranoid as a result. I also noticed that it is very, very difficult to acheive an erection. Also, i do not hve an appetite and am nauseous. I am scared because most sites say that either it goes away in 24 hrs or it creates some kind of long-lasting brain chemistry change. I never want to touch this stuff again and just want to go back to normal.

Are these symptoms common? Is there an eta for returning to normal or could this be permanent? Please email me so that I am sure I get a response.

Thank you,

Nervous

majik
2:35 am June 15th, 2015

thc and your fatty cells hve alot to do wth how long it stays in an “individuals” system. To tha people that hve tripped out on eating tha shyt, u’v got me a lil nervous when i smoke my next blunt (hope itz soon tho)

First timer Josh
7:52 am June 24th, 2015

So, last Friday my best friends 21 bday took place.. We had a nice dinner on a yacht then went to a speak easy to drink. These drinks were labor intensive and I had about five.. Then we wnt to a club and I had like 5 more drinks.. I was drunk .. My friend then took us to a house full of stoners and I took 5 big hits.. I was soo high and didn’t even know where I was going .. My head felt like it was spinning forward faster then the speed of light.. I got scared and though someone drugged me and found my self in a dorm room across town.. My friend were nowhere to be found and I started crying and getting really anxious.. I didn’t think weed could do all that? Makes me kinda not want to touch that stuff again.. I’m usually in control of everything and it made me feel like I had no control.. I could not even get up from the bed I was on.. Why do people smoke weed when all it does is cause you to feel paranoid and scared that your gonna die..

9:41 am June 24th, 2015

Hi Josh. Marijuana affects every individual differently. Many people (especially those 9-10% who wind up becoming habitual users) experience a mild euphoria that lasts for 2-4 hours from weed. Doses and strain of marijuana will also affect your reaction.

Greenout
5:09 am July 16th, 2015

I used to smoke for a few years but I stopped because I kept greening out I recently tried to smoke again to see if it passed I thought it was a faze. I tried again and it was terrible so bad I had to go to the E.R.
My heart was racing so fast cause I was so scared that I was going to die that my heart was throwing off clots. Smoking is not meant for everyone nor is it good for you. I thought it cured cancer and it can’t harm you but after that scare I moved to open my own shop in California went to school to be a scientist it didn’t work out but I did the study of what it actually can do to a person and its just as bad as anything else.

Hannah
8:55 pm October 5th, 2015

If you don’t mind, I am writing a research paper about why or why not marijuana should be legalized. To be able to clearly give credit to this blog, if it is okay for me to use this article as a source of information, may I get the name of who wrote this article?

4:31 pm October 6th, 2015

Hi Hannah. You can freely use this article and also feel free to give author credits to Addiction Blog. We’re glad that you find it useful for your research paper.

Francesca
10:09 pm November 21st, 2015

My boyfriend and I overdosed on an edible cookie. It was the first time doing this. My biyfriend was advised to take a quarter of the cookie each and then wait. But it was the worst experience ever. Two days after we feel like we are floating on water and feeling dizziness though nothing like the first day of course. But we are worried. Iwe realised we took 40mg each and were stupid to trust the advice given.
Will this feeling leave? When ? Should we do anything that can help?
What’s your advice?

6:12 pm December 2nd, 2015

Hi, Francesca. That was very bad experience, and I think you’ve learned the lesson. I suggest you drink more fluids, take more Vitamins, and everything will be fine.

Brandon
9:42 pm December 16th, 2015

i have overdosed on weed a couple times i have felt pupil dilation, shaking that is hard to control, feeling cold, shortness of breath, temporary feelings of paranoia, fear and anxiety, vomiting and/or nausea, disorientation, and fast heart rate there were times during these overdoses i honestly thought i was gonna die, but i have stopped smoking pot and havnt smoked in over 3 months and ever since i have became extremely depressed and i cant concentrate on anything and dont have the motivation to do anything how ever i probably wont smoke pot again unless its in small amounts, and all you pot heads that think all this is wrong well i hate to say it but you are wrong this article is all facts and i have the experiences to prove it so just because you are mad and dont wanna believe any of it doesnt mean you should fill this place with lies

MAR
2:34 am January 2nd, 2016

I got an RX from Doctor for medical marijuana. I took 50mg. 10 every 1/2 hour. So 50mg in a short while.
Is this dangerous and can I don anything to counteract the high? I’m scared

Fernando
11:25 pm February 26th, 2016

Hello my name is Fernando and well I ate a brownie for the first time and and too much too but that was about four days ago and had to go to the hospital and they told me it would go away in hours but I still felt it after 3 days now I don’t feel it much but since I got parinoic and getting scared when that all happened I feel weird and haven’t eaten well because for some reason after all of this food just makes me wanna puke and grosses me out plz I hope for a response

Ivonna
10:06 pm June 22nd, 2016

People using marijuana irresponsibly are one of the things screwing up legalizing it more! Educate yourself BEFORE using it for the first time! Learn about strains, what Sativa, and Indica means- how different strains affect people. Cbd oil, edibles, shatter, etc. affect everyone different because we ALL have different bodies and different health issues. If you educate yourself BEFORE you use, you will have a good chance of having a good high! The internet puts insane amounts of information at your fingertips, so it’s not hard to educate yourself about marijuana! And if your that lazy to begin with, you probably shouldn’t be using it to begin with, to eliminate other excuses you could ask the person you buy from about it BEFORE using. Also marijuana is not addictive, however the feeling it gives you can be! People can be “addicted” to darn near anything, coffee, chocolate, alcohol, etc. If your not getting high anymore as your article suggests, try a different strain, it’s that easy! If you eat an edible moderation is the key! Your body handles edibles different, because your digesting it and it enters your body slower, so eat a small amount over longer periods to see how it will affect you, moderation is always your best guide here. If you feel anxious try to relax, stay hydrated, watching TV sometimes helps relax you and diverts your mind, this will usually pass quickly. If you have a medical condition that may prevent you from sleeping the affects off safely that is all the better reason to educate yourself BEFORE hand. Marijuana affects pain receptors in the body, first time users cannot predict how it will affect them 100% until tried, but be smart and let educated knowledge be your guide!

Amanda
1:24 am August 22nd, 2016

Hi I was wondering how long I am going to be this way?…
I expirienced half the symptoms of intoxicaion of marijuana. It’s been a month now and my memory is bad and I am like stupid. I can’t think like when I read a sentence I can’t make sense of it or when people talk I can’t understand them sometimes. I feel disorientated still. Can you help me please I’ve been to the hospital and they said there’s nothing they can do about it.

Layla
6:43 pm November 22nd, 2016

my dad has his medical card for Marijuana because of problems and it helps him and he runs his own business he has researched this “drug” , it helps the risk of cancer, you have to do more than 8 tons in 8 hours so the person…

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