If we have heard it once, we’ve heard it a million times: there are no known reports of anyone dying due to a cannabis overdose. For some strange and pleasant reason, there doesn’t appear to be any lethal dose of THC for humans. But that does not mean over consumption is impossible. In fact, it happens a lot – especially with edibles.
As it turns out, the majority of people who take themselves to the emergency room after consuming too much THC had consumed edibles. In Colorado alone, some 11% of ER visits in the state are linked to over consumption of cannabis edibles. So what’s the deal? Why do people seem to be having so much trouble with things like gummies, cookies, and brownies?
A Lack of Experience
For starters, a Benzinga post written by The Fresh Toast’s Mike Adams entertains the possibility that many of Colorado’s ER patients suffering from the effects of over consumption are new, inexperienced users. Their lack of experience means they don’t know how to self-regulate.
Imagine having never used cannabis before. You have been a big fan of gummy bears since you were a kid, so you decide to take that first step into the cannabis lifestyle with a bag of gummies bought from a local dispensary. So far, so good.
Unfortunately, you are also accustomed to consuming an entire bag of gummy bears in less than an hour. It never dawns on you that doing the same thing with your cannabis gummies probably isn’t smart. You open the bag and scarf away.
The Effects Take Time to Kick in
Adams’ proposition makes a lot of sense if you are familiar with how THC gets into the bloodstream. When your delivery method of choice is an edible, it can take an hour or two before you start feeling the effects. Why? Because the gummies you just ate fall in line behind the rest of the food in your stomach to be digested. It takes a while for the stomach to break those gummies down so that THC can get into the bloodstream.
By contrast, smoking marijuana puts THC into your bloodstream almost instantly. Ditto for vapes and tinctures. Because you’re feeling the effects right away, you are not likely to continue smoking, vaping, or using a tincture for an excessive length of time.
Edible consumers may not realize how much THC they are ingesting because they don’t start feeling the effects for an hour or two down the road. In the moment, they are just eating a food that tastes good. And if it tastes good enough, there is little incentive to stop eating it.
Medical Use Is Slightly Different
It would be interesting to note how many people who overdo the edibles are medical consumers. Medical consumption is a bit different, according to the experts at qualified medical prodieders Utah Marijuana.
In a medical situation, they say it is expected that patient and pharmacist work together to determine dosage and delivery method. A patient using edibles would know how much THC is in each dose. In theory, they would limit their consumption to specific doses despite knowing that the effects of the THC could take an hour or longer to kick in.
Medical use aside, it is possible to consume too much THC in too short a time. Doing so can result in a variety of symptoms, including something known as the ‘weed shakes’. The good news is that none of the symptoms are life-threatening.
As far as we know, there is no lethal dose of THC for humans. Over consumption can be unpleasant, but it’s not likely to be fatal.
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