Is There a Risk for Medicinal Cannabis Overdose? – The Clinic Network

Is There a Risk for Medicinal Cannabis Overdose?

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Medicinal cannabis is legal in Canada, but there are multiple misconceptions surrounding its use. Until recently, there have been a few studies centered on the effects of cannabinoids. Lack of general knowledge and this useful drug’s prior status as an illegal substance reinforced some stigma and fallacies surrounding cannabis.

The subject of overdose is a big part of those misconceptions. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions regarding excessive cannabis intake:

Is There a Risk for Medicinal Cannabis Overdose?

risks in using cannabis
Overdosing on cannabis is not common, but it is possible. In itself, an overdose on cannabis is not typically lethal.

Excessive amounts of any substance can be detrimental to your health. Symptoms of excessive cannabis use include:

  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • tremors
  • anxiety or panic attacks
  • paranoia
  • hallucinations
  • disorientation or impaired judgment
  • increased heart rate
  • chest pain

To avoid the adverse effects of overdosing, it’s important for patients to follow their doctor’s recommended dosage.

Can Overdosing on Medicinal Cannabis Result in Death?

overdosing a cannabis
Medical medicinal cannabis overdose on its own does not typically cause fatalities. There are currently no medical records or documented incidents of a cannabis-induced death (locally or worldwide). However, cannabis can produce psychotropic effects in some users, and ensuing paranoia or anxiety can lead to hazardous and potentially fatal actions. Cannabis should therefore be used wisely and moderately.

How Much Cannabis Can Cause an Overdose?

The most cited estimate of a lethal dose of cannabis is from a 1988 court ruling by Administrative Law Judge, Francis Young. The ruling revealed that it would take the consumption of approximately 1,500 pounds of cannabis within 15 minutes for the THC in the substance to approach lethal levels of toxicity.

A more recent study (revised in 2017) states that the lethal dose of THC is significantly higher than previously thought. Assuming that the human LD50 (lethal dose) is similar to that of rats (666 mg/kg), an average person weighing 187 lbs. would have to ingest approximately 55 grams of pure THC. Given that the most commonly used cannabis strains (Sativa and Indica) have between 12% to 18% of THC, a person would need to consume a staggering amount of cannabis for it to be fatal.

If you’re looking for answers to other frequently asked questions on cannabis therapy, or if you are inquiring about your eligibility, contact The Clinic Network Canada Inc. at 1-855-462-3646.

Last modified: October 3, 2019

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