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Marijuana (also known as cannabis, weed, pot, grass, MJ, or dope) is used for recreational and medicinal purposes. It is the most abused drug in the U.S., especially among the younger population, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The main ingredient in this Schedule 1 drug is THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol. It can be smoked or ingested . Smoking marijuana causes faster, more predictable effects while eating pot relays slower and less predictable effects.
Is a Marijuana Overdose Even Possible?
If too much marijuana is taken, overdosing is possible but it is unlikely. Massive amounts of the drug are needed to overdose. In such a case, that means 40,000 times the amount of THC would be needed dose necessary for a fatal overdose of marijuana. So, if three puffs of weed gets a person high, then 120,000 puffs would be a fatal dose for them.
However, other contributing effects and ensuing responses to the drug, can make an overdose seem more likely. These include:
- Panic attacks
- Psychotic reactions
- Impaired thought processes especially in judgment, coordination and perception
Deaths related to marijuana have been more succinctly linked to additional drug use or unrelated health conditions, rather than the weed itself.
Short-Term Marijuana Effects
The short-term effects of weed include:
- High, euphoria
- Relaxed state, sleepiness
- Dry mouth
- Increased appetite
- Short-term memory loss
- Impaired judgment
- Affects verbal skills
- Distorts perception
- Slowed coordination
There is a four times higher risk of having a heart attack for one hour after using marijuana than for those not using the drug. It can cause heart palpitations and cardiac arrhythmia.
Long-Term Effects of Pot
The long-term effects of marijuana include physical, emotional, behavioral and addictive components. including:
- Lung damage from being smoked
- Affects mental status especially leading to schizophrenia, depression and anxiety
- Decreased fertility
- Leads to eventual use of harder drugs; those who have used marijuana at least 6 times are 14 times more apt to use heroin
Temporary overdose of the pot is called “greening out.” The effects last for a few hours. Some of the symptoms include:
- Temporary and extreme paranoia, fear and anxiety
- Trouble breathing
- Pupil dilation
- Nausea and vomiting
- Fast pulse
- Shaking chills
The greatest risk of overdosing is that the marijuana could be mixed with other chemical or drugs, especially hallucinogens, which can cause other serious side effects. This is the main cause of marijuana related death.
Treatment for Marijuana Overdose
The symptoms of a marijuana overdose can be felt for several days. Some people liken it to the effects experienced after binge drinking. The treatment is symptom based. Severe symptoms need immediate medical attention. The treatment options include:
- Fluids, usually intravenously
- Anti-anxiety medications, especially benzodiazepines or sedatives
- Medications to control fast pulse and fluctuating blood pressure
- Prevent the user from injury
- Professional observation
After physical overdose symptoms abate, supportive psychological evaluation and marijuana addiction treatment might be necessary to deal with a deeper addiction.