Updated on February 6, 2024
6 min read

Can You Overdose on Weed?

Key Takeaways

Can You Overdose on Weed?

A fatal marijuana overdose is uncommon, but that doesn’t mean the drug is harmless.3 Too much marijuana can lead to severe side effects.

How much weed is ‘too much’ depends on the individual. If you experience heavy signs and symptoms of marijuana use, you have likely consumed too much cannabis.

Sponsored

Online Therapy Can Help

Over 3 million people use BetterHelp. Their services are:

  • Professional and effective
  • Affordable and convenient
  • Personalized and discreet
  • Easy to start
Find a Therapist

Answer a few questions to get started

Woman drinking coffee on couch

Symptoms of Marijuana Overconsumption 

The signs and symptoms of marijuana intoxication may include: 3

  • Extreme confusion
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Panic
  • Fast heart rate
  • Delusions or hallucinations
  • Change in blood pressure
  • Severe nausea or vomiting
  • Unintentional injury (motor accidents, falls, or poisoning)
  • Excessive sleepiness

Get Professional Help

BetterHelp can connect you to an addiction and mental health counselor.

Find a Therapist

Answer a few questions to get started

Rehab Together

Remedies for Marijuana Overconsumption 

If you or a loved one overdose on marijuana, a visit to the emergency room may be necessary. If your loved one is experiencing a psychotic break due to a cannabis overdose, it is essential to keep them safe.

For milder cases, try hydrating with lemon water to help neutralize terpenes. In many cases, treating marijuana intoxication is a waiting game.8

Paranoia or psychosis may occur in extreme cases. It’s essential to soothe, reassure, and place the affected person in a safe and comfortable environment.

What is Weed?

Weed is known as marijuana, cannabis, and pot, among other names. The drug is extracted from the cannabis plant and is used for medical or recreational purposes.

While many people smoke or vape weed, you can also use it as an ingredient. People can often add marijuana to food, drinks, topicals, or tinctures.

Weed causes psychoactive or mind-altering effects. Although it’s not as addictive as other drugs, it can be after long-term use.1

Phone, Video, or Live-Chat Support

BetterHelp provides therapy in a way that works for YOU. Fill out the questionnaire, get matched, begin therapy.

Get Started

Answer a few questions to get started

Woman drinking coffee on couch

Common Side Effects of Marijuana

Marijuana over-activates the cannabinoid receptors in the brain. This causes mental and physical impairments that lead to the ‘high’ people experience. 

Other side effects of marijuana include:2

  • Altered senses (e.g., seeing brighter colors)
  • Altered sense of time
  • Shifts in mood
  • Impaired body movement
  • Problems with thinking and problem-solving
  • Impaired memory
  • Hallucinations (when taken in high doses)
  • Delusions (when taken in high doses)
  • Psychosis 

How is Weed Used for Medicinal Purposes?

THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is responsible for the effects of cannabis. It may also provide medicinal results for conditions like: 

  • Pain
  • Nausea
  • Reduced appetite
  • Insomnia

CBD (cannabidiol) is non-intoxicating. It offers potential medicinal effects for conditions like epilepsy and anxiety. However, we still have much to learn about THC and CBD.

There is ongoing debate surrounding the effects of cannabis on the body. People report a mixture of physical and psychological effects, ranging from discomfort and anxiety to pain relief and relaxation.

Side Effects & Risks Associated with Marijuana Use

Here are other effects and risks linked with marijuana use:

Behavioral Effects

Researchers from the University of Toronto gathered 124 studies from 1995 to 2020. They assessed how recreational marijuana use had adverse consequences on behavior.5 

These consequences include:

  • Memory loss or memory lapses
  • Impaired decision-making
  • Impaired attention
  • Thinking and learning problems
  • Cognitive impairments

In the long-term, too much marijuana affects brain development. It may also affect how the brain develops connections between the areas required for these functions. It’s still unknown how long marijuana’s effects last and whether some changes may be permanent.

Psychological Effects

Long-term marijuana use is associated with mental illness in some cannabis users. However, it’s essential to understand that study findings are mixed.2

These psychological effects include: 2

  • Hallucinations
  • Paranoia
  • Worsening symptoms in people with schizophrenia
  • Increased depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts

Psychosocial Effects

Young people who use cannabis consistently during their development are less likely to finish high school or college. One study in New Zealand followed a group of children through middle adulthood while tailing their marijuana use.4

Participants were more likely to use weed chronically as adults if:

  • Their parents used it
  • They had a conduct disorder
  • They were used for novelty-seeking
  • They experienced trauma as a child

Evidence also suggests that those who use marijuana early in life and continue to use it frequently have less economic success than the general population. 

Additionally, those who used marijuana commonly as adults were more likely to have mental disorders and abuse other drugs.

Health Effects

Consistent cannabis use can lead to many serious long-term health problems. 

These include:

  • Lung infections from smoking weed
  • Chronic cough
  • Bronchitis 
  • Increased mucus buildup in the chest
  • Increased heart rate and risk of heart attacks
  • Problems with child development during and after pregnancy

Cannabis use during pregnancy is associated with lower birth weight and increased risk of brain and behavioral issues in babies. Babies exposed to marijuana in the womb also have an increased risk of attention, memory, and problem-solving issues.

Long-term cannabis use can lead to cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome (CHS). This condition causes some people to experience recurrent cycles of severe nausea, dehydration, and vomiting. It can require a visit to the emergency room.

How Long Does it Take For Weed To Affect You?

Different ways of ingesting cannabis may affect your body differently. If you inhale weed, the compounds enter your bloodstream and reach your brain much faster. When you do this, you’ll feel the effects of weed within seconds to minutes.

If you consume weed products, the compounds must pass through your digestive system and liver before entering the bloodstream. This causes you to feel the effects within minutes to hours.

Signs of Marijuana Use

Marijuana use is linked to psychological, physical, and behavioral shifts. The signs of cannabis use may or may not be clear.

Here are some commonly observed signs:

  • Red eyes
  • Dilated pupils of the eye
  • Eating or excessive eating outside of typical meal or snack times 
  • Poorer performance in school, work, and/or in meeting responsibilities at home
  • Withdrawing from friends, family, coworkers, and/or classmates 
  • Spending time with people who use marijuana or substances
  • Buying cannabis products, such as bongs and rolling papers, to smoke marijuana 
  • Conducting online research on various types of marijuana and highs, such as waxes, tinctures, and edibles
  • Using slang terms for marijuana like weed, pot, bud, and cannabis

Treatment Options for Marijuana Use

Treating marijuana abuse with standard treatments, including medications and behavioral therapies, may help reduce cannabis use.7 This can be especially helpful for people with chronic mental health disorders.

These therapies include:

Summary

Marijuana is an addictive drug that causes mind-altering effects. As of today, there are recreational and medical uses for marijuana.

Although marijuana doesn’t cause a fatal overdose, it isn’t harmless. Long-term marijuana use can lead to severe long-term health problems.

These side effects can affect a person physically, socially, and mentally. Fortunately, there are treatment programs that can help you quit marijuana.

Get matched with an affordable mental health counselor

Find a Therapist

Answer a few questions to get started

betterhelp-logo
Updated on February 6, 2024
8 sources cited
Updated on February 6, 2024
  1. Cannabis (Marijuana) and Cannabinoids: What You Need To Know, National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NIH), 2019.
  2. NIDA. "Marijuana Drug Facts." National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2019.
  3. Marijuana FAQs, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2021.Boden et al. “Life-course trajectories of cannabis use: a latent class analysis of a New Zealand birth cohort.” Addiction (Abingdon, England), 2020.
  4. Sorkhou et al. “The Behavioral Sequelae of Cannabis Use in Healthy People: A Systematic Review.” Frontiers in psychiatry, 2021.
  5. NIDA. "Drug Misuse and Addiction." National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2020.
  6. NIDA. "Available Treatments for Marijuana Use Disorders." National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2021.
  7. NIDA. "Available Treatments for Marijuana Use Disorders." National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2021.
  8. Turner et al. “Marijuana Toxicity.” StatPearls, Treasure Island, 2023.

Related Pages