This piece first appeared in Cannabis Now.
Whether it’s CBD or THC, ingesting or smoking cannabis is never fatal.
If you are an avid cannabis enthusiast who clicked to read this piece after being filled with an overwhelming sense of rage by a headline that even dares suggest it is possible for a person to overdose on marijuana, what can we tell you, this article might not be for you. We understand that there are some hardcore cannabis purists out there who have a tendency to get riled up when they hear borderline blasphemous statements made about their precious plant. These are the folks who have a propensity for the ballistic when pot is referred to as a “drug” or when it is associated, in any way, with the throes of addiction. So the concept of a “marijuana overdose” can be a touchy subject.Listen, we sympathize, really we do. But it needs to be recognized that there is a whole new legion of marijuana consumers emerging onto the scene now that weed is being made legal in more parts of the world. Some of these people are just starting to get interested in the various facets of the cannabis culture and they need legitimate answers to all-important questions, like “what is this stuff going to do to me and can it kill me dead?” Therefore, it is for those curious cannabis newbies scrolling through this page trying to get comfortable with weed that we dedicate this article.
Is Marijuana Overdose Real?
While it would be easy for us to double-talk our way through the science behind getting way too freaking high, we feel it is best to just cut to the chase. YES, it is possible to overdose on marijuana. But the repercussions are nowhere even close to the overfeeding of the brain that comes from consuming too much cocaine or heroin. First of all, it is impossible to suffer a fatal overdose on weed. Let’s just get that out on the table right now. Even the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration admits, “No deaths from overdose of marijuana have been reported.” And you had better believe the agency would have publicized the heck out of it if, somewhere along the way, at least one person would have dropped dead from the doobie. But here’s the thing: Marijuana is one of the safest drugs in the world. A recent WHO report calls it “a relatively safe drug” that seems to only bring about “euphoria, laughter and talkativeness.”
Nevertheless, it is still possible (and fairly easy) to ingest too much of the herb’s intoxicating compound tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – especially when cannabis edibles are involved. It is important to learn how to use them properly. An overdose on weed, or as it has been called “greening out,” can bring on fierce bouts of paranoia, shortness of breath, increased heart rate and genuinely make an inexperienced user fear for their life. In this situation, the user can sometimes experience a cannabis-induced panic attack, which is essentially a pure, unadulterated freak out that has been known to inspire the afflicted to find religion and call to 911 in a last-ditch effort to keep from swallowing their tongue.
But medical attention is not necessary. The only treatment an emergency room staff can provide a marijuana overdose victim is a sedative and time. Experienced cannabis users say consuming CBD-only products can help ease the effects of a total green out.
What About CBD, Can I Overdose On It?
Chances are if you Googled this topic, the Internet spit out a variety of articles about CBD oil causing mass overdoses across the United States. And if you are new to the medical marijuana discussion, you might be really wigged out and more apprehensive than ever. We understand this concern. But it is important to point out that those stories are based on a report that was released over the summer by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that documents at least 50 cases in which people in Utah were poisoned by “fake CBD oil.” There were a few reports suggesting that these faux products were showing up in other areas, but most of the incidents were concentrated to that one state.
The oil causing consumers to experience “altered mental status, seizures, confusion, loss of consciousness, and hallucinations,” was not legitimate CBD. Laboratory testing found these products were made with materials commonly referred to as “synthetic marijuana.”
Of course, this substance, also known as K2 and Spice, is nothing like the oil pressed from the cannabis plant. Just like we mentioned above, marijuana is one of the safest inebriating substances on the planet. It has been shown to prevent seizures, not cause them.
But a lack of federal regulations on cannabis-related products, especially the ever-so-popular hemp-based CBD oils that are supposedly legal in all 50 states, has given some less than scrupulous individuals a criminal license. It is for this reason that we recommend using only CBD products purchased from a reputable dealer, avoiding, at all cost, products sold in convenience stores, truck stops and smoke shops. It’s not that the CBD products being sold by these businesses are, in fact, “synthetic marijuana,” but with so many legitimate, safe options available, why take any chances?
Real CBD, regardless of whether it is made with hemp or cannabis, is perfectly safe for human consumption. These products are often touted for their many therapeutic powers — even if, in some cases, the claims are hyped up and exaggerated. But they are in no way dangerous.
This part of the cannabis plant, which is still considered to have psychoactive properties, does not produce any stoned effects like its THC counterpart. Since this particular component of the flower does not have the ability to get the user high, there really is no motivation for the user to consume an overabundance of it in pursuit of a better buzz. In short, a CBD overdose is impossible. Perhaps the only way it could become a hazard is if someone (and we’re talking about a complete lunatic) insisted on swallowing CBD oil by the glass full. We imagine this might cause a stomachache and maybe a wicked case of the back door trots. But that’s about the extent.
TELL US, do you know someone who is scared of overdosing on marijuana?