New to cannabis and cannabis products? 

Start low and go slow. Sure, your buddies might respect your unreasonably high tolerance for alcoholic drinks, but expertise in that field doesn’t necessarily translate well into the realm of cannabis.

Responsible consumption of cannabis is key. Failing to respect the plant is failing to respect yourself and your friends, who will undoubtedly need to take care of you after you figuratively and literally bite off more than you can chew. 

If you’re a first time user, you’ll likely have a lot of questions about cannabis overconsumption, the effects of overconsumption, and whether or not you’ve taken too much in the first place! 

Read on to learn more about the symptoms of consuming too much cannabis and what you (and your friends) can do to help.

Overdosing on Cannabis

The symptoms of cannabis overconsumption are instantly recognizable, and if you’re suffering from them yourself, you won’t need a friend to tell you what’s wrong with you. 

Colloquially known as a “green out,” a cannabis overdose experience can be extremely unsettling, even for experienced users. 

Health Canada describes the following as symptoms of cannabis overconsumption:

  • Chest pain
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • nausea/vomiting
  • Psychotic episode
  • Respiratory depression
  • Severe anxiety and/or panic attack 

Overdosing on cannabis is generally not recognized to be fatal, but the symptoms and experience can feel extremely unpleasant and could be dangerous in some cases, with some instances requiring hospitalization. 

If you feel any physical pain or harmful effects from cannabis, Health Canada advises users to:

  • Stop using it
  • Seek immediate medical attention or call your local poison control centre

How to Avoid a Cannabis Overdose?

As with most things in life, moderation is key. When eating or drinking cannabis, Health Canada has dictated that it can take up to 

  • 2 hours for you to start to feel the effects
  • 4 hours for you to feel the full effects
  • 12 hours for acute effects to subside

Everyone’s body is built differently, so it’s important to allow yourself and the cannabis you’ve just consumed to work its way through your system. Having patience is important – just because you don’t feel the effects right away doesn’t mean consuming another dose is the best option. 

Certain cannabis products, such as vapes and pre-rolls, might have their effects felt right away, while other products, such as edibles and tinctures, might require a bit more time to work their way through your body. 

Whatever the case may be, it’s never a bad idea to wait and be patient before consuming another dose. For first time users, it might be a good idea to consume in the presence of an experienced friend or family member.