But Did You Die? a.k.a. Cannabis Cleanse Part Deux
This is a continuation of my previous blog Cannabis Cleanse and shares more details. Maybe you’ve heard someone say before ‘man! I should never have taken that second gummy/hit that bong/dab rig/etc.” I’ve definitely had one gummy too many and felt drunk as a skunk…but that got me to thinking. Has anyone really died from THC? Is there really a such thing as TOO high? After scouring the internet I finally arrived at an answer….yes, there is a such thing as too much, but NO, no one knows exactly how much it is. For every article saying that it is impossible to overdose on cannabis, you can find another that cites the opposite. After reading an excruciating amount of drug abuse articles with a biased lean, I was able to glean a few details that I feel comfortable mentioning here.
While Cannabis is generally considered non-toxic, an overdose is a possible occurrence. Let’s remember that overdose isn’t necessarily what we picture in our minds of someone seizing up and dying after consumption of a specific substance. Overdose is defined by the Oxford dictionary as ‘an excessive and dangerous dose of a drug’. There! That doesn’t sound so bad does it? Dangerous doesn’t necessarily mean deadly does it? So while you can indeed overdose on cannabis, the likelihood of respiratory suppression, like that which can happen with the overdose of alcohol, the likelihood of you dying from an overdose of cannabis is incredibly small. As a matter of fact, in figure 2, you can see that in a 5 year time period, 78 lives were lost to cannabis overdose. While each one of those lives was precious, there are significantly less lives lost to cannabis than other substances, both controlled and not. The data seems to be pretty skewed as most studies citing marijuana as a cause of death are usually in conjunction with another substance i.e. alcohol, opioid’s, etc, so it was pretty difficult to get the real numbers. Fig 2 was one of the only charts I could find that actually separated out the other co-morbidities to isolate the few deaths caused by marijuana alone. So in short, yes you can die from marijuana, but you basically have a higher chance of being struck by lightening than of overdosing from marijuana as the current data stands. The current population of the United States of America is roughly 329.5 million, so if 18 of those people died from cannabis poisoning, that means your chance of death by marijuana is roughly .000000005%. According to the National Weather Service, at .000065%, you are more likely to be struck by lightning than die from a marijuana overdose. Pretty shocking eh?
But let’s say you are one of the special ones who manages this spectacular feat of ingesting TOO much THC, how do you know if you are suffering from a cannabis overdose and what should you do?
First, this blog does not substitute for licensed medical advice, nor should you disregard professional medical advice in lieu of the information you have found here. BUT if you bit off a little more than you can chew in the THC space, you may experience excessive fatigue, paranoia, rapid heartbeat, decreased blood pressure, and reduced motor skills.
Tips for a harmonious THC experience:
- Buy from a reputable dealer! You are much less likely to have a bad experience with product that has been properly tested and regulated.
- Titrate your dose. Titration is the process of slowly increasing or adjusting your dosage until you experience the perfect results for yourself.
A VERY loose guideline of proper dosing may be as follows:
- Microdose: 2.5-5 milligrams THC
- Standard dose: 5-10 milligrams THC
- High dose: 15-20 milligrams THC
Delta 8 THC
- Low dose: 5-15mg THC/serving
- Standard dose: 15-45mg THC/serving
- High Dose: 45-150+mg THC/serving
***Keep in mind that every person’s body is different and there are a variety of factors that can determine how YOUR body metabolizes THC products, so always approach new products with a sense of cautious optimism and start low (dosage) and slow. ***
- Until you know how your body responds to THC products, always partake in the comfort and safety of your own home (or the home of a friend/family member) and do not plan to drive. One of the side effects of excess THC consumption is impaired motor skills, which can lead to dangerous behavior behind the wheel.
- THC goes best with a great meal and proper hydration. Many note anecdotally that food seems to taste better when you’ve enjoyed some herbal refreshments before hand, but having food in your system can also be a good idea to mitigate some of the effects that can occur with too much THC. Hydration is the key to avoiding any light grogginess that you may experience the next day, aka post high hangover.
So if you disregarded my awesome tips and still overdid it, there are a few things you can try to ride out the high and return to baseline safely.
- CBD is a collaborative of THC and as such can help with some of the anxiety and paranoia associated with excess THC.
The first thing I do when I start to realize that I’ve gone a little past the deep end, is reach for my 3000mg strawberry full spectrum tincture. I have had this bring me back from the brink more than one time! Luckily, I’ve never needed to go any further than this step, but a few friends have given me their tried-and-true go to’s so that I could have more than one thing is this list.
- Go to sleep! There’s nothing that THC is better at than making sleep happen, so if at all possible, sleep it off! You will sleep amazing and wake up the next day none too worse for the wear. IF you an remember in your haze to drink a glass of water before you go to sleep, even better!
- Distract yourself. Take a walk, watch a funny movie, call a friend, cuddle your pet. Taking your mind off of the issue can sometimes help you feel better and at least make the time pass faster while your body rids itself of some of the excess THC. When you are experiencing too high of a high, or even paranoia, it can be difficult to not obsess, but if you can distract yourself, you will be well on your way to feeling better.
- Now this is a weird one, but supposedly legendary singer/songwriter/musician Neil Young SWEARS by black peppercorns to bust that MJ induced paranoia and apparently, he’s actually on to something! Peppercorns contain Caryophyllene, which actually increases the sedating effect of mary j which in turn, keeps the paranoia in check. If you’ve tried peppercorns for paranoia, I’d really be interested in hearing about your experience!
- Lastly, eating pine nuts or lemons may also counteract the effects of too much THC. I can’t say that I usually have either of these two things at my house very often, but some theorize that lemon juice may be productive and a lot of us might have one of those cute little lemons in our fridge with the juice already squeezed for us.
So let’s sum up what we learned today class! Yes there can be too much of a good thing, so take into account the myriad of factors surrounding responsible THC consumption and do your best to adult here ok? Also, while you are more likely to die from being struck by lightning, the potential does exist to perish from excess green, so try not to do that. In the event that we overconsume, we ARE in control of our own destiny and how we handle it, so RELAX, it’s going to be ok, we will get through this and do a better job next time.