Cannabis Science

Can you Overdose on Marijuana?

weed buds

Most substances have the potential to have a deadly overdose. You’ve probably heard of someone dying from alcohol poisoning or being hospitalized from overdosing on a prescription medication. An overdose occurs when someone uses a certain amount of a substance that either causes death or gives them life-threatening symptoms. So you may be wondering if it’s possible to overdose on marijuana. Here is what the science says. 

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Can you overdose on marijuana?

No, at least in the traditional sense of overdose. According to Healthline, “You can’t overdose on cannabis in the way that you can overdose on…..opioids”. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has also said that a fatal overdose is highly unlikely. 

However, people can consume too much cannabis and have negative reactions.  According to the CDC the following symptoms may occur if you consume too much cannabis:

  • Extreme confusion
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Panic
  • Fast heart rate
  • Delusions 
  • Hallucinations
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Severe nausea or vomiting

Unfortunately, these symptoms may cause accidents, falls or poisoning. Healthline says that these symptoms could last for a couple of minutes or a whole day. Interestingly, weed higher in THC have been linked to these more severe symptoms. According to Healthline, “In general, cannabis that’s higher in THC is associated with more severe, long-lasting effects.” You can avoid this by opting for products lower in THC if you’re prone to these side effects. If you’re new and not sure if you’re prone to these symptoms then start with lower doses of THC. 

Can you overdose on weed edibles? 

Not exactly but you can consume a lot and have an adverse reaction. There have been reports of people going to the hospital for eating edibles. According to The National Institute on Drug Abuse, “emergency room responders have seen an increasing number of cases involving marijuana edibles.” The reason the article gave was that inexperienced young people consumed additional edibles after not feeling the effects in the desired time. 

 Edibles take much longer to take effect, unlike smoking weed. Edibles, depending on what form you take them, could take anywhere from 15 minutes to 2 hours to kick in. According to Medical News Today, “the average dose from an edible can last 6 or more hours, with the strongest effects occurring about 3 hours after ingestion.” If you’re wondering how long do edibles last, our comprehensive guide will break it down for you in more detail.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse also mentioned that when babies consume edibles that might have been left around the house, they have severe reactions. 

How many people have died from weed? 

It’s hard to say. Most official sources have said none. There doesn’t seem to be any deaths related to overdosing on cannabis alone either. While there is limited research done on whether or not marijuana can cause death, it’s not considered a deadly substance. According to Medical News Today, “most experts agree that it is not possible to smoke a lethal dose of marijuana in most cases”. The National Institute on Drug Abuse agreed with that and said, “there are no reports of teens or adults dying from marijuana alone.”

Can you die from smoking weed?

Has anyone died from weed? There were a couple of deaths that people believed marijuana was responsible for. According to a case study called, “Sudden unexpected death under acute influence of cannabis” cannabis played a part in the deaths of a couple of men. According to the study, “after exclusion of other causes of death, we assume that the young men experienced fatal cardiovascular complications evoked by smoking cannabis”. However, the report also said that “this assumption does not rule out the presence of predisposing cardiovascular factors.” 

In another instance, a teenager was said to have died from cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome (CHS). The autopsy said that he died of dehydration due to cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome. CHS, according to Medical News Today, is a rare condition that is becoming more common. It can happen to people who are long-term users of weed that use it more than 20 times a month. The symptoms, according to Medical News Today are, “severe bouts of vomiting, nausea, abdominal pain, and dehydration from excessive vomiting. The treatment options for this condition are therapy, hydration, anti-nausea medication and abstaining from weed for a period of time. People have also said they experienced temporary relief of their symptoms when they’ve taken a hot bath. 

How to recover from using too much weed

Too much weed is subjective as it depends on the person. Healthline provided a list of actions that you can take if you’ve used a lot of weed and are having less than pleasant effects. They’ve suggested:

  • Relaxing and reassuring yourself no one has died from an overdose and the symptoms will pass. 
  • Get some food if you’re feeling nauseous or shaky.
  • Have some water especially if you’re vomiting to avoid dehydration.
  • Take a nap. Rest will help you to feel better as it passes time which is exactly what you need. 
  • Be in a calm environment. Being overstimulated can leave you anxious and paranoid.
  • Get some black peppercorns. Chewing or sniffing black peppercorns is rumored to help relieve anxiety and paranoia. 
  • Reach out to your support system. Having someone with you to calm you down that has had personal experience with cannabis can make you feel so much better. 

When do I need to go to seek medical attention? 

Medical News Today says if you’re experiencing “rapid heart rate, chest pain, and difficulty breathing” then you should seek medical attention. Healthline, says a bad reaction to cannabis isn’t a medical emergency however if someone is experiencing signs of psychosis or hallucination then they should get medical attention. 


So, can you do from weed? The short answer is NO, you can’t overdose and die from cannabis according to the experts. However, consuming too much THC can have negative effects. People tend to consume too much THC when they eat edibles and so people should be careful with that. The best takeaway is to remember that edibles take a while to kick in so refrain from eating too many of them in a short space of time. While there seem to be some deaths possibly related to marijuana, they don’t overshadow the fact that marijuana is pretty safe. Of course, everybody is different and weed may not be suitable for everyone but it isn’t inherently deadly.


About Trevann

Trevann is Stoner Rotation’s Jamaica-based lead writer for the Science section of our cannabis blog. She graduated with honors receiving her Bachelor of Science degree in Molecular Biology from the University of West Indies, Mona. For the last three years, she has covered some of the biggest questions around cannabis and health underpinned with research from supporting studies, medical journals and scholarly articles. Got something on your mind? You can reach her at [email protected].