If you’re wondering if there is such a thing as dying from a THC overdose, you will be happy to know it is not possible. No single person has ever died from ingesting too much THC, whether they’re smoking it, enjoying edibles, etc. The National Cancer Institute notes that, unlike opioid receptors, cannabinoid receptors are not located in brainstem areas that control respiration. Lethal overdoses from medical marijuana strains are therefore not possible.
Cannabinoid Receptors Vs. Opioid Receptors
Opioid receptors are found in areas of the brain that control breathing, which is why taking too many painkillers can cause a person to stop breathing. The brain’s cannabinoid receptors have nothing to do with respiration, meaning a person cannot stop breathing from THC, regardless of how much is ingested.
Medical marijuana safety is also measured in terms of its therapeutic index. The therapeutic index is the ratio between a drug’s therapeutic and lethal doses. Studies have found medical marijuana has a therapeutic index of 40,000:1. This means a marijuana user would have to smoke 40,000 times the amount of THC in a joint to risk fatality! Opioid-based painkillers have a much lower therapeutic index; for example morphine has a therapeutic index of 70:1.
Despite the fact that you cannot die of a THC overdose, you can be affected negatively if you take too much. This often occurs with edibles, as people keep taking more before the first dose has time to set in. Symptoms of THC overconsumption include paranoia and agitation. However, these symptoms are temporary and wear off in 24 hours or less.
Medical marijuana strains are among the safest drugs you can take – much more so than alcohol and narcotics. Educate yourself on medical marijuana safety so you always use it responsibly.
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