Is it possible to die from an overdose of cannabis?
In the history of human use of this plant, there have been no recorded deaths from an overdose. Everybody’s heard of it. But what does science say? Let’s deal with it.
Studies have shown it’s true: cannabis alone cannot be fatal. But in fairness, “overdose” is possible with excessive use of marijuana. Most experienced users have gone through this. It is especially common when eating it. You suddenly find yourself in a state you don’t want to be in again. But it’s not fatal. It will pass. And it will teach you a lesson. At least, it should.
We know that you can die from an overdose of opioids or alcohol poisoning. But the effects of cannabis on the body are different from those of opioids or alcohol. When overdose with opioids such as codeine, morphine, or heroin, the main cause of death is so-called respiratory depression. Opioids not only make pleasure stronger and reduce pain, but they also slow down breathing, making it irregular.
Overdose with these substances completely stops breathing, and lack of oxygen leads to death. It happens that an overdose of opioids can inhibit the work of the areas of the brain that regulate the cardiovascular system and blood circulation. This drastically reduces the blood pressure and causes heart failure.
Alcohol poisoning can be fatal when the liver is no longer able to cleanse the body of toxins, and high blood alcohol levels inhibit the same parts of the brain that regulate breathing and blood pressure. Organs stop functioning normally, which can lead to death.
Cannabis affects the body in a very different way
Cannabinoids affect receptors that are not concentrated in the brain stem, which is responsible for heart rate and respiration. Most cannabinoid receptors are concentrated in other parts of the brain that control movement and touch.
To summarize: an opioid and alcohol overdose can interfere with the respiratory and circulatory systems that are located in the lower brain stem. And cannabis can’t affect them.
So, no, you can’t die from a cannabis overdose. It may be unpleasant, but it’s not fatal.
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