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Can Weed Actually Kill You? [Debunking Myths vs. Reality]
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Can Weed Actually Kill You? [Debunking Myths vs. Reality]

Written by Seth Fletcher on February 13, 2024
Medically reviewed by Dr. Chintan Shah
Last update: February 28, 2024

Weed has gradually gained wider acceptance as a recreational drug. However, there are lots of myths and misinformation about cannabis. The most common question many ask is, "Can weed kill you?" There is no conclusive evidence linking weed to death, but there are significant adverse outcomes linked to the use of cannabis.

In this article, CCFA provides the correct answers to the most frequently asked questions about cannabis. This way, we clear up the myths about weed use and ensure that you are better informed about the risks and symptoms of weed overdose.

 Key Takeaways

  • It is impossible to die from weed
  • Overdosing on just marijuana is unlikely
  • Marijuana could complicate existing health conditions
  • Marijuana is highly addictive
  • You should see a medical professional if you are with struggling cannabis addiction and trying to stop it

Has Anyone Ever Died from Smoking Weed?

You might be asking yourself, “Can you die from smoking too much weed?” Although the psychoactive compounds in marijuana can trigger several life-threatening health complications, there is insufficient research linking any deaths directly to weed. Simply put, no one can die from just using cannabis alone.

The closest correlation experts have made is the complications of existing health conditions triggered by smoking weed. However, as one of the world's most addictive drugs, cannabis still poses a danger.

As cannabis gains wider approval as a recreational drug, more information about the risks is now available. Therefore, many curious observers might wonder, "Why do people do drugs?" Many drug addicts start as casual users seeking harmless fun. However, the addictive compounds in these substances make it challenging for them to regulate consumption and drag them into the downward spiral of addiction.

How Many People Have Died from Weed?

With about 13% of the adult Canadian population using weed, the drug is the most commonly abused substance in the country. However, there are no recorded deaths linked to weed.

The closest fatalities linked to cannabis overdose were motor vehicle accidents caused by impairment due to weed use. Available data shows that only drivers involved in about 4-12% of fatal motor vehicle accidents admitted to having used cannabis before driving.

Health Implications of Marijuana Use?

Although studies show that it is impossible to die from marijuana overdose, users are still at risk of developing serious health effects. These are the most common side effects of weed you should know.

CHS - Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome

Experts link cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome (CHS) to prolonged marijuana use. This syndrome triggers severe nausea and vomiting in patients.

Cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome is caused by the attachment of marijuana molecules to the CB1 and CB2 receptors. The CB1 receptors are present in the brain and other organs of the body. They are responsible for the regulation of marijuana's effects on the gastrointestinal system.

When users develop CHS, the marijuana molecules alter the operations of the CB1 receptors. Some receptors become more active, while others shut down. This occurrence creates an imbalance that disrupts the operation of the gastrointestinal tract.

According to health professionals, CHS develops progressively in three stages:

●  Prodromal Stage: Patients experience stomach discomfort and morning nausea. They also constantly feel the urge to vomit. The prodromal stage could last up to years.

●  Hyperemesis Stage: During this CHS stage, the vomiting and nausea become more intense and frequent. It is common with patients in weed withdrawal treatment. Patients are also known to take frequent showers to cope with the symptoms.

●  Recovery Stage: The symptoms become less intense, and patients get better. Recovery could take between a few weeks to months.

Addiction

The majority of marijuana users become unable to stop using it. When the brain adjusts to marijuana, it reduces the production of endocannabinoid neurotransmitters. This condition makes it difficult and often impossible for marijuana users to quit consumption even if they experience CHS symptoms.

In many cases, marijuana addiction leads to other problems, such as mental health issues, financial ruin, and broken relationships.

Cardiovascular Disorder

Prolonged weed addiction increases the risk of developing heart disease. The most common heart complication linked to marijuana is acute pericarditis. This condition is due to the inflammation of the pericardium, a membrane surrounding the heart.

However, experts identify the increased THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) content of marijuana as the leading factor behind heart complications. According to this review, recent marijuana strains have over ten times the THC content compared to strains from the last decade.

While there is no recorded THC death, increased THC levels are responsible for cardiovascular diseases such as increased blood pressure, heart attacks, stroke, and arrhythmia in cannabis users.

Acute Psychosis

Acute psychosis is one of the short-term effects of cannabis use. This condition makes weed users hallucinate. It also causes delusions and mood swings. Psychotic episodes are triggered by the attachment of marijuana molecules to the CB1 receptors present in the brain.

In many cases, acute psychosis makes it impossible for cannabis users to differentiate between fiction and reality. Many psychotic patients also become very troubled and begin to harm themselves.

Can You Overdose on Weed?

You can overdose on weed. However, health experts differentiate between cannabinoid overdose and other opioid overdose. Research shows that complications from cannabis overdose often arise from combining cannabis with alcohol or other drugs.

While an overdose of opioids could be fatal, it's impossible to link any deaths to weed overdose. However, consuming too much weed could cause the following challenges.

Weed Overdose Symptoms

●  Panic and anxiety attacks: Patients may become anxious and begin to panic as they lose touch with their surroundings.

●  Loss of coordination: Overdose impairs neurotransmitter operations and makes it difficult for patients to maintain balance or move.

●  Nausea and vomiting: Marijuana impairs the functions of the CB1 receptors in the gastrointestinal tract. Weed overdose makes it difficult to regulate the operations of the digestive tract and triggers nausea and vomiting.

●  Muscle spasms: Impaired neurotransmitter functions also cause affected muscles to move involuntarily.

●  Increased heart rate: Smoking marijuana reduces the oxygen levels in the red blood cells. Your heart will beat faster while trying to supply more oxygenated blood to compensate for this shortage.

●  Respiratory depression: Excessive smoking injures the cell linings of the respiratory tract. Therefore, patients display symptoms of respiratory depression, such as wheezing, coughing, and acute bronchitis.

●  Hallucinations: Weed overdose triggers the onset of acute psychosis. In many cases, patients experience hallucinations that seem too real.

●  Dehydration: This symptom is more common when weed overdose results in a weed coma. Patients tend to wake up after long hours feeling extremely thirsty.

●  Drowsiness: Excessive marijuana consumption triggers the increased production of adenosine. Patients begin to feel tired and dizzy.

When to Consult a Medical Professional

When the symptoms of weed overdose become severe, you should call emergency services. Their intervention will ensure the patient receives adequate care and prevent further complications.

Weed overdose could be a symptom of marijuana addiction. Without drug addiction treatment, such people will always be at risk of marijuana overdose. CCFA offers expert guidance on how to quit smoking weed for good.

Conclusion

The recreational use of cannabis has become widely accepted. However, you can protect yourself by being better informed.

While it is impossible to consume a lethal dose of cannabis, there are still significant risks. Experts have blamed a few deaths on marijuana-induced complications of existing health conditions. Prolonged marijuana use is also directly linked to mental health issues such as addiction, acute psychosis, and memory loss.

If you or your loved ones are struggling with weed addiction, the Canadian Centre for Addictions offers a comprehensive marijuana detox treatment plan. Our facilities are operated by experts who provide round-the-clock supervision to help you cope with withdrawal symptoms. Call 1-885-499-9446 right away to speak with one of our professionals.

FAQ

What to do instead of smoking weed?

If you are wondering, "What to do instead of smoking weed?" here are some safer recreational activities you can do. Try knitting or other crafts to keep your hands engaged. You could also immerse yourself in nature by taking long walks or hikes.

Can weed cause catatonia?

You might wonder, "Can weed cause catatonia?". There is no evidence directly linking cannabis use to catatonia. However, studies show that psychoactive compounds in marijuana interfere with the neurotransmitters in the brain. This occurrence could increase the likelihood of catatonic episodes.

How much weed does it take to overdose?

In case you are wondering, "How much weed does it take to overdose?" It takes between 2 to 3 grams of THC to trigger an overdose. However, the severity of an overdose usually depends on the method of weed ingestion.

What does weed intoxication cause?

If you are asking, "What does weed intoxication cause?" here are some effects. Increased heart rates and chest pain are common symptoms of weed intoxication. Intoxicated individuals could also begin to experience psychotic episodes, seizures, and panic attacks.

Do all weed smokers get CHS?

You might be wondering, "Do all weed smokers get CHS?" No. Only users who have smoked weed extensively for several years are at risk of developing CHS. Many recorded CHS patients admit to smoking weed at least once a day for over a year.

Can you die from THC?

Many health experts have identified higher THC levels in recent cannabis strains as the leading trigger of cardiovascular complications. But if you are asking, "Can you die from THC?" the answer is no. However, high THC levels could impair your mental functions and make you suicidal.

How long does it take for cannabinoid receptors to return to normal?

Want to know "How long does it take for cannabinoid receptors to return to normal?" It takes about four weeks of complete abstinence for cannabinoid receptors to return to their normal levels. It is safer if qualified professionals supervise this process.

Certified Addiction Counsellor

Seth brings many years of professional experience working the front lines of addiction in both the government and privatized sectors.

Dr. Chintan is a Board Certified Family Physician with an interest in holistic and preventative care as well as healthcare systems. Credentialed Physician with both American & Canadian Board of Family Medicine. Adjunct Professor in the Department of Family Medicine at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry. Telemedicine clinician.

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