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Can You Overdose on Weed?

Medically Verified: 2/1/24

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All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

Marijuana or weed is one of the most commonly abused substances in the United States. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), about 52.5 million people reported abusing cannabis in the past 12 months.

While weed is legal in many states for recreational or medical uses, it remains illegal on a federal level. There are some benefits to using cannabis, however, it is possible to abuse it and become addicted to it. The CDC reports that 3 in 10 people who use marijuana meet the criteria for a substance use disorder.

If you abuse marijuana, you might be wondering whether it is possible to overdose on it. While overdoses are not usually life-threatening, they can occur. Typically, a weed overdose involves symptoms like panic attacks, chest pain, or symptoms of psychosis.

Even though fatalities do not typically occur from marijuana overdoses, they are potentially dangerous. It is possible to experience adverse effects like seizures or heart attacks. As a result, you should always be careful when consuming THC products.

Understanding a THC Overdose

Overdosing on THC is a legitimate concern to have. While marijuana overdoses are not considered life-threatening like opioid overdoses, they pose a variety of risks you should be aware of. If you are combining marijuana with another substance, an overdose could become life-threatening.

Additionally, children who overdose on marijuana are at an increased risk of dangerous complications. For example, there have been reports of children experiencing seizures when they accidentally ingest THC.

Whether you are an adult or a minor, cannabis overdoses are not something you want to experience. The risk factors for THC overdoses include:

  • Pre-existing health conditions like heart disease or asthma
  • History of use (amount and duration)
  • Using high-potency THC products
  • Combining cannabis with other substances or prescription medications

Symptoms of a Marijuana Overdose

If you abuse forms of marijuana that have a high THC potency, you have a higher risk of overdose. While extremely rare, marijuana overdoses can lead to serious medical complications like heart attacks and seizures. That being said, even mild overdoses can be extremely distressing.

The side effects of a cannabis overdose might include:

  • Extreme anxiety, chest pain, and panic attacks
  • Psychosis, which includes symptoms like delusions, hallucinations, and detachment from reality
  • Decreased judgment and coordination issues that may lead to personal injuries and accidents
  • Shaking or seizures
  • Pale color to the skin
  • Being unresponsive or becoming unconscious
  • Sudden high blood pressure and heart attacks

Whether you eat, drink, or smoke marijuana, you can experience adverse reactions. Because of the health risks associated with marijuana overdoses, you should seek medical attention if you develop the symptoms.

How to Prevent a Weed Overdose

Knowing that cannabis can lead to overdoses and understanding the symptoms is a great first step in preventing them. If you are going to abuse weed, you should take some extra precautions to prevent yourself from experiencing the adverse effects of marijuana.

Some of the ways to prevent a weed overdose include:

  • Abstaining from cannabis use
  • Lowering the amount of weed you consume in one sitting
  • Staying away from high-potency THC products
  • Being aware of decreased tolerance when you return to marijuana use after abstinence
  • Avoiding mixing marijuana with other substances like alcohol
  • Staying hydrated and eating food before using marijuana
  • Avoiding marijuana use if you have physical conditions like asthma or mental health conditions like bipolar disorder
  • Seeking professional help if you are struggling with marijuana addiction

While the only way to ensure you do not experience an overdose is by avoiding THC altogether, these tips can make adverse effects less likely. If you are addicted to cannabis, you should seek addiction treatment from a licensed drug rehab facility.

What to Do if You Are Experiencing a Cannabis Overdose

Experiencing a marijuana overdose is always scary, even if it is only mild. Simply having a panic attack from ingesting cannabis can make you feel like you are experiencing a life-threatening emergency. If you feel like you are experiencing the symptoms of a THC overdose, you should seek medical attention immediately.

When experiencing a cannabis overdose, you should:

  • Contact 911 if you are experiencing convulsions or chest pain
  • Go to the nearest emergency room for treatment if you can
  • Inform a parent, partner, or friend about the symptoms you are experiencing
  • Stay with someone who is informed about marijuana overdoses and can support you

You should contact emergency medical services if you believe your symptoms are severe. Never attempt to drive yourself to the emergency room. If you do not want to call an ambulance, have a friend or family member take you to avoid driving under the influence.

Find Help for Weed Abuse and Addiction

Despite popular belief, marijuana is addictive. If you or a loved one suffers from a cannabis addiction, it’s time to seek professional help. Addiction treatment programs provide the support and tools you need to achieve long-term sobriety.

At South Carolina Addiction Treatment Center, we offer evidence-based therapies to address marijuana use disorder. Additionally, we take a compassionate approach to substance abuse treatment, making it easy for you to be open and honest about the issues you are struggling with.

South Carolina Addiction Treatment is a state-licensed and CARF (Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities) accredited substance abuse treatment facility. We are a dual-diagnosis facility with a primary focus on substance abuse. We offer individualized, extended-term treatment in an intimate setting located in Greenville / Simpsonville, SC. 

Contact us today for more information on our marijuana addiction treatment center and detox program.