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Can You Overdose on Marijuana?

By Zawn Villines
Medically Reviewed by Jennifer Casarella, MD on December 10, 2021
Using too much weed can bring on a number of dangerous symptoms.

A popular myth suggests that marijuana is less addictive than other drugs, or not addictive at all. The research suggests otherwise. Around 30% of cannabis users misuse or abuse marijuana. 

With most other drugs, abuse is a risk factor for overdose. That’s because users keep taking more and more of the drug in an attempt to get the high a lower dose once offered. 

An overdose on marijuana is impossible in the traditional sense, says Jason Levine, PhD, a psychologist and addiction treatment expert. People generally do not die solely because they take too much marijuana. Yet high doses of marijuana can and do cause serious health problems, including fatal accidents. 

Can You Overdose on Marijuana?

A fatal marijuana overdose is unlikely, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). But marijuana can have other harmful effects, particularly at high doses. 

A 2019 letter written by doctors and published inThe New England Journal of Medicine details the tale of a reported overdose of marijuana. The patient, a 52-year-old man, had been injecting marijuana to stimulate his appetite as he underwent brain tumor treatment. He experienced restlessness, speech problems, and confusion for 2 days before seeking emergency care. 

Investigation of the man’s medications revealed that he had injected about 330 milligrams of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. A more typical dose is around 10 mg. The man had taken more than 30 times a typical dose. With many drugs, this might cause a fatal overdose. While it was not lethal in this man’s case, it did cause intense confusion that subsided shortly after he was hospitalized. 

A so-called marijuana overdose can cause a number of dangerous symptoms, Levine says. These can include:

  • Anxiety including panic attacks 
  • Psychotic thinking 
  • Hallucinations 
  • Rapid heart rate and high blood pressure 
  • Coordination issues 

These may lead to death in indirect ways, such as when a person drives under the influence of mairjuana or falls because they are confused. 

Marijuana Isn’t Harmless: Symptoms of Abuse

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) defines cannabis use disorder as a medical condition. Some warning signs that you may have a marijuana addiction include: 

  • Not being able to stop using marijuana even though you want to 
  • Doing dangerous things to access or use mairjuana 
  • Continuing to use marijuana in spite of relationship, legal, financial, health, or other issues
  • Feeling like you need marijuana to feel normal

Get Help Now

You don’t have to face addiction alone, whether you’re struggling with marijuana abuse or hoping to help a loved one. Addiction is a disease. The right treatment saves lives. WebMD Connect to Care experts are here to help you find the right treatment, so you can live the life you deserve. Reach out today!

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