Too much weed is bad for anyone. More specifically, overloading your system with THC can lead to some nasty side effects. This is due to the psychoactive effect of THC that affects the receptors within certain parts of your brain.
What are the side effects of taking in too much THC in one sitting? How can you avoid the side effects? What kind of remedy can help you overcome the nasty side of cannabis? Let us answer all three questions by taking a close look at the psychoactive component of marijuana.
How THC affects you
THC is a mind altering component of marijuana that interacts with the cannabinoid receptors within parts of your brain. These parts are responsible for your memory, logical thinking, the perception of your surroundings, and pleasure.
Many things happen to your brain while under the influence of marijuana. This includes the release of dopamine within your brain, which is a chemical that makes you feel happy and ecstatic. It is as if you won the lottery or an incredibly hard competition.
Other kinds of marijuana can improve your day apart from just making you happy. For example, sativa strains give you a boost to your energy as if you just drank a cup of coffee. These strains will also improve your productivity or performance by increase your creativity as well as your focus.
Another type of marijuana is all about taking the weight off your shoulders or smoothing the edges around your nerves. Indica strains make you feel relaxed and at peace with yourself. This type of cannabis will leave you locked on the couch and slowly drift to sleep. Some indica marijuana may just soothe your nerves and make you feel incredibly hungry for anything in your kitchen.
Side effects of THC overdose
Because of how marijuana interacts with the receptors in your brain, too much of the psychoactive component can affect your memory and perception in negative ways. One of the common side effects of THC overload is anxiety or paranoia.
You feel an uncontrollable build of fear as if something horrible is happening to your body. This is due to how marijuana twists the way you see and hear your world. Some people also report of hallucinating while being overwhelmed by THC.
Apart from anxiety attacks, overdosing in THC can lead to uncontrolled vomiting and nausea. Certain marijuana lowers the rate of motion sickness and gag reflex of your body. Having too much THC in your system can lead to persistent vomiting though.
In serious cases, THC overdoses can lead to heart arrhythmias or unusual heart pulse. This condition is when your heart is beating too fast or slow due to irregular electrical impulses. Symptoms of heart arrhythmias include chest pain.
We want to note that overdosing on THC is not as deadly or fatal as other substances. This myth likely comes from the notion of overdosing in medications such as painkillers, which often leads to low blood pressure, drowsiness, and vomiting. Alcohol poisoning is a real danger than THC overdose. Drinking passes your limit usually ends in uncontrolled vomiting and memory issues.
Causes of THC overdoses
Smoking highly potent strains are one of the common causes of THC overdoses. Casual smokers might get overwhelmed from buds that have a THC potency of more than 20 percent. Most users may likely experience some nasty side effects from consuming strains that have a THC level of more than 30 percent. These strains include the Godfather OG, which can go up to 34 percent.
Another way of overwhelming your body with THC is smoking concentrates. As the name suggests, concentrates are the purest form of marijuana in the form of wax, kief, or shatters. This type of weed contains the highest amount of THC than its dried strain counterpart.
Unlike dried strain though, it is easy to smoke more than the safest recommended dosage. Since the smoke enters your lungs and enters your bloodstream, you will immediately feel the effect of THC. This includes the side effects of a marijuana overdose.
The most common cause of THC overdose comes from consuming edibles or weed laced food. Unlike dried strains or concentrates, the psychoactive cannabinoid within a food takes time to enter your bloodstream. This is due to your body needing to digest the food in order to absorb the THC. The time it takes for you to feel the effect of the marijuana-laced food can vary.
On an empty stomach, the THC may kick in less than an hour. Otherwise, you may need to wait for up to two hours for the cannabinoid to take effect in your body.
It is also important to note that edibles are incredibly potent or are rich in THC. A piece of chocolate bar or even a small bite of brownies contains as much THC as concentrates. Edibles are meant to be eaten in small quantities per day.
Because it takes time for THC within edibles to kick in, people tend to eat more than the suggested dosage. It is not unusual for someone to eat another piece of marijuana brownies or chocolate if they do not feel anything within an hour after eating one piece. By the time the cannabinoid takes full effect within their body, they will only realize that they mistakenly ate too much.
Another reason why people experience THC overdose with edibles is the lack of awareness that the food contains weed. Anyone can mistake a batch of marijuana-laced brownies inside a seal-able plastic bag to not contain THC. Apart from the smell of weed that the food emits, the taste barely has any trace of cannabis in it.
Children eating edibles is a major concern for Health Canada, which is why they did not include edibles to the legalization of marijuana in the country. Government officials will not follow US states in allowing dispensaries or marijuana shops to sell cannabis laced foods. However, the government is looking for ways to make edibles available to everyone since this is a lung-friendly form of cannabis. One method that the government is considering are edibles that look bland or does not have any attractive traits.
Avoiding THC overdose
The key to avoiding the bad side effects of marijuana is to increase your body’s resistance to THC. This involves consuming just the right amount of weed that your body can handle. As your resistance grows, you can consider trying highly potent THC strains.
If you are looking for your first marijuana strain to smoke, look for strains that are rich in CBD. CBD is a cannabinoid that counteracts the psychoactive traits of marijuana by limiting the interaction of THC to your brain receptors. In addition, CBD has a relaxant trait that soothes your body.
Take note that you do not want to pick strains that have too much CBD and only a few THC such as the ACDC strain. While this potency ratio is great for pain relief, you will barely feel any of the cerebral effect of THC. You want a balanced potency of both THC and CBD to build up some resistance to highly potent strain. One example is the Cannatonic strain that has a 1:1 ratio of both cannabinoids. This strain eases your muscles while increasing your energy levels.
If you are already a regular user, consider taking strains with a slightly higher THC level than the ones that you usually smoke. If you do not want to switch your strain so you can build your THC resistance, another alternative is to amp the potency by adding a dash of kief.
Kief is the primary ingredient to edibles that contains a large amount of THC. A good way of using this ingredient is to add a pinch of the powder to your joint or pipe when you smoke your weed.
Concentrates require taking in just the right dosage per hit. Fortunately, you will immediately feel the effects of THC after inhaling the vapors. This will let you know if the amount is just right or if your body can handle another hit from the bong or pipe.
When it comes to edibles, it pays to know the standard dosage. The normal dosage of THC is at 10 mg for regular marijuana users. If you have yet to try any form of marijuana, a good dosage amount is around three to five mg. This is just enough for you to get the full effect of cannabis without overloading your system. Experienced users can handle around 20 to 30 mg of THC because of the tolerance they built over the cannabinoid.
Another factor to consider is the service size of an edible. Many marijuana-laced foods you find in stores come in boxes or packages that contain multiple servings. Pay attention to the suggested serving size of each package. Some people make the mistake of consuming a bag of gummi bears that they believe contain a THC total of 10 mg only.
However, the bag actually contains 300 mg worth of the cannabinoid and just one piece of gummi has 10 mg. As you can expect, this leads to a marijuana overdose.
While talking about edibles in store, avoid ones that do not have any labels or at least a sheet of information. Edibles can contain a random amount of THC in them depending on how the producer makes them. One cookie may contain more than 300 grams worth of THC because of the strain and amount of cannabutter that goes into baking the food. Only buy edibles that have gone through laboratory tests. These tests ensure that each service size contains the exact dosage of THC that you see on the package or box.
Time is another important factor to keep in mind when consuming edibles. You need to wait for your body to digest the food and deliver its THC content to your system. Factors that determine the time it takes for THC to kick in include your body metabolism rate and fat content. A good rule of thumb is to wait at least two hours after eating the suggested serving size. If nothing happens, eat half of the serving size of the edible and wait again.
Edibles are a great way for anyone to enjoy marijuana without inhaling anything that might harm the lungs. Here are more ways on how to safely eat marijuana-laced food.
Treatment for THC overdose
Much like hangovers, there are no medications or one hit cure of having too much THC in your system. Fortunately, treatment simply requires waiting for the psychoactive cannabinoid to leave your system. Throughout this period though, you will likely be experiencing heightened paranoia and nervousness.
A good way to get over the side effects is to have a relative or friend accompany you through the experience. They can reassure and soothe you while your nerves are wounded up. Another person will keep you from getting worked up about small things that as leaving the pilot light on or you fail to pay the bills yet.
Stress management is another way of overcoming THC. No one dies from a marijuana overdose. The side effect is only temporary and your body will eventually remove the substance from your system. It pays to be at home or in an environment you are familiar with such as a friend’s house.
Taking your mind off of the paranoia is another key to beating the side effects. Consider doing some of the activities you love like watching comedies or playing casual games that involve tapping on the screen to score points. A long soothing bath and shower is another way of getting over the paranoia. Listening to soothing music throughout the experience can provide some relief for the paranoia.
You now know the different side effects of THC overdose and the causes of this condition. It pays to know how much your body can tolerate the cannabinoid. Make sure to read the labels on any edible packaging before eating any piece.
Waiting and relaxing is the key to overcoming the anxiety attack of THC overdose. With this in mind, it is a good idea to be at home when you are eating edibles or smoking weed for the first time. Being in a familiar environment can help you overcome the bad effects of marijuana should it occur.