If Willie Nelson offered you a weed edible, would you eat it? It’s a no-brainer actually. After all, he is a successful singer-songwriter with his own line of CBD oil products! 

What you should be paying more thought to is how much of the edible you are going to chow down on. Too little and you’ll wish you ate more. Too much and you’d better prepare for the ride. Tolerance levels differ among cannabis users, depending on their method of consumption and how frequently they use weed (in any form.) 

Although case reports on cannabis-related deaths are uncommon, [1] a total of 2,057 calls were made to U.S. position control centers in 2014 as a result of single-substance exposures to cannabis, according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC). This is 1,548 more than the year before. [2]

Cannabis reform is triggering a rise in consumption, which could explain the increase in over-consumption. On the plus side, cannabis over-consumption can be avoided if you know how to steer clear of a weed overload in the first place. So, read on.

Ingesting is Stronger than Inhaling 

Don’t be fooled into thinking that eating your weed is going to be the same as smoking it. When you ingest cannabis in the form of an edible or drink, the THC must first pass through your gut and breakdown into the bloodstream before it works its magic. Inhaling cannabis by smoking or vaping is a faster way to experience the effects; usually within a couple of minutes, if that. Despite the fact edibles take longer to produce effects, the high is generally a lot longer; 2-3 hours.

Spotting the Signs of a “Weed Overdose” 

Weed is the most-abused drug in the U.S., based on findings from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). Young people seem to be the worst offenders, but it’s not just the recreational users who are at risk of exceeding their tolerance. 

Although product packaging clearly displays the percentage of cannabinoids contained in cannabis edibles, oils and other types of medication to prevent overconsumption, everyone’s biological profile is different. 

What this means is that cannabis’ overall effect may hit you harder than, let’s say, Willie Nelson. Willie is a seasoned smoker, so his body is “highly” prepared for what’s in store.  

Luckily, if you recognize the signs of overconsumption, you can quickly take action by counteracting the signs of a weed “overdose” (which, by the way, nobody ever died of.) [4]

Usually, if somebody experiences cannabis overconsumption, one or a combination of the following symptoms will be present:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Hallucinations
  • Lack of mental clarity
  • Panic attacks
  • Intense paranoia

Top Ways to Counteract a Cannabis High  

Based on information published in the 2012 Emergency Medicine Report of the National Poison Data System, [5] cannabis is not mentioned on the top causes of death related to pharmaceutical products. Safe and effective, cannabis can be consumed without any negative side effects. It can also produce unpleasant side effects in high doses – something that the non-psychoactive cannabinoid CBD (cannabidiol) can help to counteract.

Former president of the American College of Emergency Physicians, Dr. Larry Bedard, advises anyone who over-consumes cannabis to rest, stay calm and don’t panic. Vaping some CBD or dropping a few tinctures onto your tongue could reverse THC’s psychoactive effects and allow you to enjoy a comfortable state of euphoria.

“The most common reason someone goes to the ER for a marijuana reaction is anxiety”  says Bedard. In addition to dosing up on CBD, you can counteract THC overconsumption by staying hydrated, taking a walk in the wilderness, cooling down in the shower and of course, knowing your limits.