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Can you overdose on weed?

Overdosing on weed is a topic that is largely discussed between both drug users and non-participants. It’s widely argued that it is ‘impossible’ to overdose on weed and that you can only make yourself ill from the amount you take rather than dying from an overdose as you can on other illegal drugs. In this article we take a look at the effects that marijuana has on you and determine whether it is actually possible to overdose.

Originally posted on 5th August 2015, Updated on 25th January 2019

Experts say it’s not possible

The topic of overdosing on weed is also largely speculated in the health industry. In a 1988 ruling by the US Drug Enforcement, experts said that you would need to consume 20,000 to 40,000 times the amount of THC found in a normal joint to even come close to dying.

According to this study by the National Cancer Institute you can’t overdose on weed due to ‘cannaboid receptors not being located in the brain stem areas that control respiration.’ This means that cannabis can’t stop someone breathing no matter how much they smoke.

What can it do?

While it is argued that you can’t overdose on cannabis, you can still have some permanent damage caused to your body. If you smoke large doses of marijuana or smoke it regularly, some sources claim you could develop acute psychosis and permanent paranoia. When taking cannabis orally such as smoking it, the effects are delayed making it hard for you to predict. If you smoke more it could lead to negative side effects such as vomiting, or dizziness, according to this study.  However, these are typically only temporary and should fully wear off within 24 hours.

Once you have consumed cannabis, some strains can make the heart work a tad harder and slightly affect the rate and rhythm at which it beats. Due to this, it can sometimes contribute to inducing cardiac arrest for people with pre-existing heart conditions or those with cardiovascular disease. The chances of this, though, are very minute. Should you pass away from this it would be because of your condition rather than the cannabis itself.

Has anyone died from cannabis?

There has been one recent case which has had tongues wagging ever since. In October 2013, a 31 year old mother, Gemma Moss, was found dead in her bed after smoking half a joint the night before in a bid to help her sleep. She had previously smoked pot regularly but had stopped for two years before her death. Miss Moss was suffering from depression and would smoke weed to help her sleep at night following a separation from her partner.


After lengthy proceedings, a coroner recorded a verdict of death by cannabis toxicity and claimed that Miss Moss died from the ‘moderate to heavy levels of cannabis-related chemicals in her blood’. He also ruled that there were no abnormalities in her body, therefore her heart and vital organs were working properly. This was the first ever death recorded as a result of cannabis abuse.

Since then many experts have commented on her death saying that it isn’t possible that she could have died from smoking half a joint. It is largely argued that the cannabis was laced with other drugs, or that because Miss Moss suffered from depression (which increases the chance of cardiac arrest as it is) it is possible that the small amount of marijuana triggered a one-in-a-million cardiac event.

The Verdict

With so many experts and facts favouring that you cannot overdose on weed, and with only one death in the history of time (which still isn’t proven), we would say that you can’t overdose on weed. Marijuana should still be consumed responsibly, if you choose to take it, and should only be taken in small doses to avoid illness.

MSNL Team MSNL Team / 25th January 2019

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