Can You Overdose on Marijuana?

In our latest question, our pharmacist discusses the controversial question of whether it is possible to overdose on cannabis.
Can You Overdose on Marijuana?

Rog Asked

Can Weed Kill You if You Smoke Too Much?


A drug "overdose" happens when you take a harmful or toxic amount of a drug. Overdoses may or may not be fatal.
You can certainly overdose on marijuana, but a fatal overdose due to the drug alone is highly unlikely.
Cannabis overdose commonly results in distressing symptoms such as anxiety, paranoia, and/or palpitations.
Cannabis use has preceded death in some cases, but usually the death is attributed to another cause such as an accident or suicide.


Thanks for the excellent question! The short answer to your question is yes, you can overdose on cannabis. This may be a surprise, but first, let's make sure we understand what an overdose is and what it isn't. 

What is an overdose?

An overdose is when you take a toxic or harmful amount of a drug. Symptoms can occur quickly, but sometimes there's a delay. Not all overdoses are fatal or even life-threatening for that matter, but medical advice should usually be sought if an overdose is suspected or has occurred and is causing concern. 

Understanding cannabis overdose

Cannabis, or marijuana, has a relatively low toxicity profile, so overdosing on cannabis alone is unlikely to kill you.

There is a concept called lethal dose (LD50) in pharmaceutical sciences. LD50 is the dose of a drug that kills 50 percent of a test sample. The LD50 for cannabis hasn’t been determined for humans. Some researchers have extrapolated LD50 data from animal studies and have suggested 40-140mg/kg THC or more. 

Although a cannabis overdose isn't likely to be fatal, it can still make you very very uncomfortable.

Acute effects of a cannabis overdose

A cannabis overdose is not devoid of repercussions. You can suffer from severe adverse effects.

The intensity of these effects vary person to person and depends on various factors such as:

  • Individual tolerance
  • Method of consumption
  • Potency or dosage

Common symptoms associated with a cannabis overdose include:

  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Fast heartbeat (tachycardia)
  • Confusion
  • Temporary poor brain functioning

While these effects can be distressing and can cause extreme discomfort, they are not generally life-threatening. The duration they will last depends on the amount of cannabis consumed and the method of consumption. However, they generally subside over time as the THC’s effects wear off.

Consuming responsibly 

It is always best to take a careful approach to avoid these distressing symptoms. Start with low doses, choose the best cannabis consumption method for you, and avoid mixing cannabis with other substances, for example, alcohol. The risk of adverse reactions is often increased if cannabis products are consumed with other psychotropic substances such as stimulants or sedatives.

While the drug isn't likely to be fatally toxic on its own, it has been associated with deaths from other causes


It is possible to overdose on cannabis and it happens all the time. Cannabis overdose commonly results in presentation to the emergency room due to severe distress. 

Cannabis overdoses aren't usually lethal, but there have been a few situations where cannabis use preceded death by another cause (suicide or fatal accidents). 

Too much of anything is not good, and cannabis is not exempt from this cliche. While it is clear that cannabis is unlikely to kill you, you should still respect the plant and be mindful of how much and how quickly you consume.

  1. The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids: The Current State of Evidence and Recommendations for Research. The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids: The Current State of Evidence and Recommendations for Research..
  2. Marijuana as Medicine? The Science Beyond the Controversy. Marijuana as Medicine? The Science Beyond the Controversy..
  3. The role of the LD50 determination in drug safety evaluation The role of the LD50 determination in drug safety evaluation.

Was this article helpful?

Related Questions

Go To Top