Overdose is possible, but not a fatal overdose. Remember that at its worst, this will be an 8-hour ride, and most people will fall asleep if they’ve become over intoxicated. Cannabis overdose can’t cause any manner of permanent physical or psychological damage, so remember—this too shall pass.
First of all, let’s look at some of the acute effects of cannabis over intoxication. Blood pressure and blood sugar drop to unhealthy levels, leading to conditions known as hypotension and hypoglycaemia. These conditions can cause fatigue, lightheadedness, dizziness, nausea, clammy skin, blurry vision, anxiety and irritability, sweating, chills, confusion and delirium—clearly, all symptoms associated with cannabis overdose. The first step is to remedy this, as it will allow you to take stock of where you are and feel a bit more at home in your own body. It’s best to drink something high in sugar first (orange juice is especially good for reasons we’ll get to later), and once that sets in, eat a light snack.
Next comes terpenes. Evidence suggests the synergistic effects of terpenes can help to ameliorate cannabis overdose, especially the terpenes limonene and beta-caryophyllene. A long-standing historical tradition was to treat cannabis over intoxication with cold water and citrus, which is very high in limonene. A more modern tradition is to consume or inhale peppercorns, which contain oodles of beta-caryophyllene. Beta-caryophyllene is active at CB2 receptors, which can counteract the psychoactive effects of THC, mediated through CB1 receptors. The mechanism by which limonene alleviates cannabis overdose isn’t well understood, but it may be mediated through serotonin receptors, which produce strong anti-anxiety effects.
And then there's body temperature. Cannabis can lower body temperature, which causes shivers and hypothermia. If you’ve overdosed on cannabis, it’s good to find a warm comfy space or wrap yourself in a blanket. Patients with cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome (cyclical vomiting caused by chronic cannabis exposure) respond positively to warm showers, and it’s speculated that this is because bringing the body temperature back up regulates the hypothalamus, which in turn alleviates symptoms. Warming up and feeling cozy can help reduce the anxiety associated with overdose.
It’s always best to consume cannabis in friendly and reassuring company. Don’t consume cannabis if you feel pressured to do so or if you’re uncomfortable in a new setting, as this can lead to an increased risk of overdose and panic. If you’re experiencing overdose and if it’s tolerable, sometimes a hug or a good cuddle can be very reassuring. It’s also best not to overstimulate with loud music, violent movies, flashing lights, or other overwhelming phenomena. Try to create a tranquil and serene space free of these triggers. And ultimately, try to avoid overdose—it’s not fun! But if it happens, remember that all will be okay.Posted: Saturday, July 7th, 5:49pm 4 months ago
Lana Tong is an aspiring Biochemist and Squirrel Behavioral Psychologist based in Victoria, British Columbia. She's passionate about cannabis as a medicine, entheogen, food, fiber crop, and so much more. Lana hopes to one day swim in a pool filled with organic CBD oil. We all have dreams - right?!