Overdose is a scientific term used to describe the set of side effects that appear after excessive consumption of any substance, such as drugs in general, which includes medication. Overdose, as it is also known, in more aggressive cases, can lead to death. But is it possible to overdose on Cannabis?
The discussion can start with understanding what an overdose means. If the person ingests an amount of Cannabis that their body cannot process, this user will probably have to deal with the adverse effects of the substance, such as anxiety, dizziness, vomiting and other side effects.
However, it is not that simple. It is necessary to consider the way the substance was administered, the quality of the product and the individual’s tolerance to the quantity ingested.
We know that prohibitionism leads cannabis to obscurantism in terms of its quality. Therefore, it is not difficult to have access to an herb contaminated by substances harmful to health, such as solvents, manure and even drug residues, such as crack. Given this, an overdose of cannabis would not be ruled out.
However, there is no scientific evidence that a cannabis overdose led to a person’s death. Unlike opioids, for example, which killed nearly 50,000 people in the US in 2018, and alcohol, which kills more than 95,000 people a year in the US as well, according to the US Centers for Disease Control.
In a 1988 DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) report, Judge Francis L. Young stated that: “…to induce death, a Cannabis smoker would have to consume 20,000 to 40,000 times more Cannabis than is contained in one Cannabis cigarette. Cannabis cigarettes provided by NIDA weigh approximately 0.9 grams. A smoker would theoretically have to consume about 1,500 pounds (680 kg) of Cannabis in about fifteen minutes to induce a lethal response.”
Remembering that the use of Cannabis is millenary, which shows that, even in the midst of so many particularities, the substance is still safe, not showing fatal potential in any dose capable of being consumed by a human being.
But, like any similar substance, Cannabis has a certain toxicity potential that can generate physical and emotional discomfort, which is known as ‘bad trip’ – a term used to express the unpleasant sensations that an overdose of Cannabis can eventually generate.
In an interview with The Cannigma website, pharmacist Melani Kane told about the safety of having Cannabis in a pharmacy at home. According to the professional, the side effects of THC can be very uncomfortable, but they are by no means fatal. “It’s definitely the safest drug I’ve ever administered.”
When it comes to medical cannabis, safety increases even more. This is because the doses are given gradually, always starting with a small dose, which is adjusted according to the patient’s response.
Therefore, there are no reports of the possibility of an overdose of Cannabis leading to death, but this does not exclude the need to make responsible use of the substance.
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