IS MARIJUANA DEADLY?
- September 4, 2018
Have you ever wondered what would happen if you smoked too much marijuana? Most people associate getting really high on weed with sudden cravings to eat all the food in sight, a serious case of the giggles, or having some vivid hallucinations. You often hear marijuana proponents say that it’s one of the safer drugs out there, because you can’t overdose on it. It is true that won’t die just from smoking a lot of weed, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t the possibility of serious side effects or deaths that were marijuana-adjacent.
One way that marijuana can be dangerous is if you’ve consumed so much that you’re completely unaware of your surroundings. You might be hallucinating things that aren’t there, feeling paranoid, or simply so out of it that you can’t tell which way is up. These side effects make it more likely that you’re going to fall or otherwise injure yourself, potentially in a way that is life-threatening. And of course, there are people who attempt to drive while high, which can result in serious accidents.
Another way marijuana can prove deadly is when you take it with other drugs. Some people purposely take it with other substances in order to increase the high, but depending on the drug this can be dangerous and even deadly. Some substances – both recreational and prescription – that you should not combine with marijuana include alcohol, benzodiazepines (a class of drugs that treat anxiety), muscle relaxers, opioids, barbiturates and other central nervous system depressants, protease inhibitors (antiviral drugs that are used to treat HIV/AIDS), selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (a type of antidepressant), sildenafil (Viagra), tricyclic antidepressants, naltrexone (used to manage alcohol or opioid dependence), disulfiram (brand name Antabuse, used to treat alcoholism), lithium, and anesthetic agents. Any combination of these can result in central nervous system depression, which means decreased breathing and heart rate and loss of consciousness. Even if you think you’re smoking pure marijuana, if you bought it off the street you have no way of knowing what the dealer might have mixed it with.
Another result of too much marijuana consumption is called cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome, which might not be deadly but is very unpleasant. It’s a condition that occurs in daily long-term users of marijuana that causes severe and repeated bouts of vomiting. It’s still unclear what exactly causes the syndrome in some people. The side effects can include ongoing nausea, repeated episodes of vomiting, abdominal pain, decreased food intake and weight loss, and symptoms of dehydration. These will typically last until a person completely stops using marijuana, although symptoms may persist for months, and they will come back if the individual starts using again.
If you or a loved one need help with quitting drugs or alcohol, consider Asana Recovery. We offer medical detox, along with both residential and outpatient programs, and you’ll be supervised by a highly trained staff of medical professionals, counselors, and therapists. Call us any time at (949) 438-4504 to get started.