Can You Overdose Cannabis Edibles?

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Overdosing on cannabis edibles has been the center of attention since early 2014. With a few tragic events (which we will discuss shortly) sending the media into a frenzy. With these events, it has left the world questioning the safety of cannabis edibles. On the flip side, the cannabis industry is rapidly growing in popularity… so if there is any danger, why are people still flocking to try them? 

In 2014, the media widely reported about the 19-year-old boy who overdosed on edible medicated products. Traveling to Colorado and consuming Cannabis for the first time… let’s just say it went very wrong.

He started with a little piece and after 30 minutes of no effect, he ate the whole cookie. The story ended the worst possible way as he jumped off a balcony on levels 4 and tragically died.

As a result of the media’s interest, New York Time journalist, Maureen Dowd traveled to Colorado to test edibles herself. As it happens, she misinterpreted the information on the packaging as well and ate too much.

So The New York Times article ended up about Maureen being anxiously crawled up in her hotel bed for 8 hours.

So Can You Actually Overdose Cannabis?

prescribe medical marijuana

Before we go any further, it is worth noting that, you cannot ‘overdose’ on Cannabis as such.

You cannot physically consume enough to actually kill you.

However, too much Cannabis can cause:

  • Temporary discomfort
  • Feeling of anxiety
  • Disorientation

These symptoms are not dangerous physically, however, the discomfort that may occur with too much Cannabis cannot be underestimated.

We published a post earlier this year sharing what to do if you do consume too much marijuana, you can check out here> What To Do If You Get Too High?

Nobody has directly died from overdosing Cannabis, however, the drama around the idea of overdosing gets the media excited. Putting it into context changes the picture, though.

The problem is insignificant compared to overdosing with alcohol, pharmaceutical drugs or even caffeine.

What is the Right Dose?

cannabis edible-cannabis overdose

The answer to this question never creates much excitement.  The right dose is unique to everyone.  We all have unique endocannabinoid systems and we all react to Cannabis differently.

Famous Israeli scientist, Raphael Mechoulam suggest that our endocannabinoid system might be what makes every individual unique. It is so unique to each and every one of us that it is impossible to have a ‘one size fits all’ approach.

The only rule that applies uniformly is this: Start small and go slow!

Always ask yourself what you are trying to achieve when taking medicated edibles.

If it is your first time and you would like to experience the benefits of marijuana edibles, it is best to start very slow and wait it out.

It is better to have no effects compared to having a bad experience, right?

Most of the people who overdose on their first experience end up resenting the experience overall.

They say ‘Cannabis doesn’t work for me’.

This can lead to robbing themselves of the benefits of Cannabis, perhaps for the rest of their life.

Always start slow, even if you have used Cannabis before. Edibles work differently to smoking or vaporizing.

If you are in an area where you can buy edibles in dispensaries, such as Colorado, US, you have the luxury of knowing the THC portion. The edibles you buy in the dispensaries come in 10mg dosage portions.

Starting with one of those is what generally recommended and then wait 2 full hours before you take any more.  

Waiting it out is key, as the time it takes effect varies widely from person to person.

When smoked or vaporized, the effects can be felt within seconds or minutes. When you eat Cannabis infused products, you may feel the effects significantly later.

It could be as early as 30 minutes or as long as 3 hours before any effects are felt.  Be patient for your first time. This is the best thing to do to avoid an unnecessary bad experience.

Edibles Work Differently in the Body

cannabis edibles overdoseWhen Cannabis is eaten, the delta-9-THC is transformed into 11-hydroxy-THC by the liver. The THC is the cannabinoid that causes the psychoactive effects. It is also a highly therapeutic cannabinoid.

The 11-hydroxy-THC, that the liver ‘produces’ from normal THC is a lot stronger. It also bonds to the cannabinoid receptors stronger and effects can last up to 8 hrs.

What does is actually mean? Even if you are used to smoking or vaporizing Cannabis, you should take it slow with edibles when you try them.

No Difference Between Indica or Sativa When Eaten

Sativa vs Indica- cannabis edibles overdose


As you most likely know, Cannabis has 3 different subspecies, with the 2 popular ones being Cannabis Sativa and Cannabis Indica.

Sativa  actually stands for ‘of the fields’, this strain is grown in vast fields in the open and Indica actually originated from India, hence its name.  Both these plants have slightly different visual structures as well as a difference in potency regarding THC and CBD.

These two subspecies have slightly different effects when inhaled as a smoke or as vapor.

However, this different effect is not present when you eat Cannabis. The effects are the same.

The Environment and Surroundings are Also Important

cannabis edibles overdose

Paying attention to the setting can make a difference to the experience and worth thinking about.

Cannabis edibles can produce quite a psychedelic effect. So to be prepared for any reaction, it is a good idea to have a comfortable and safe setting.

The place where you should feel comfortable enough to be able to relax. The people you are surrounded with are best limited to the ones your feel warmly about.

Cannabis Edibles has a Long History

marijuana brownies

Cannabis was consumed orally by humanity before it was ever smoked. This plant has a longer relationship with humans than most people realize.

Consuming Cannabis in edible forms may go back in history to over 10,000 years.

The Indian traditional Cannabis edible, Bhang has been part of Hindu ceremonies for 2000 years.

People have been consuming edibles for medical and religious purposes for a long time.

Can You Taste the Cannabis?

cannabis edibles overdose

To some consumers, Cannabis has a strong pungent flavour. This taste comes across more in the baked edibles. If you are one of those that this taste bothers to some degree, you may want to eat infused chocolate instead.

Chocolate covers the taste better and they often include ginger to help off setting the taste even more.

What are the Benefits of Edibles?

cannabis edibles overdose

Edibles are the fastest growing segment of the legal Cannabis industry. They are opening up the benefits of marijuana to a whole new, largely untapped audience, adults that are not that keen on smoking joints. There are a lot of people in this category and the Cannabis edible market is boiling up in the US.

Edibles are also a medical Cannabis delivery method that suits many situation.
It is especially useful when marijuana is used as medication for insomnia or for pain relief or anything that requires regular application.

Vaporizing only lasts for 2 – 3 hours and have to be reapplied. During night time this would mean getting up every few hours to vaporize.

With edibles, lasting up to 8 hours is easier. Patients can consume edibles before going to bed and stay medicated overnight.

All it Takes Is the Right Dosage

The benefits of Cannabis edibles overweights the extra attention it takes to get the dosing right. As a conclusion, I believe it is worth experimenting with small amounts initially to get the right dose and enjoy edibles as you see fit.

Are cannabis edibles part of your lifestyle?

Share with us your experience!



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