Too much of anything can ruin a good thing, and cannabis is no exception. Now that the social and legal stigma of marijuana is largely fading, many people are coming around it for the first time and more people are turning to daily marijuana use. With anything new, there’s normal process of testing boundaries, finding limits, and learning what works best for you.
Cannabis is a powerful plant, and it is up to you to use it responsibly to enhance your health and experience.
Overdosing on Marijuana?
First of all, let’s get clear.
It is virtually impossible to overdose on marijuana to the point of it causing permanent long-term damage (unlike opioids or alcohol). You might possibly get stuck in a head-trip about how you feel like you are dying, but you will not. There are approximately zero cases of anyone dying from a cannabis overdose. It is not like alcohol or opioids. You can’t get weed poisoning from marijuana use. People have died from associated causes, like driving while high, but that’s a product of poor choices, not toxicity.
So, now that we’re clear about the physiological reality, it can still be helpful to have a bit of a guide to know what you’re getting into.
Here are some factors to consider the next time you light up and don’t want to end up in the fetal position having a conversation with the elves that live underneath your couch cushions.
Strain and Potency
There is a very wide range of cannabis potency out there, and some strains are extremely strong. There are also very powerful concentrates that are smoked in dabs like wax and shatter than can be upwards of 90% THC. If you are a new smoker, do not start here.
Talk to a budtender and tell them what you are looking for. Be honest about your experience, and he or she can help find a strain that’s right for you. Look for something that is more in the 10-15% THC range, or perhaps a high CBD strain.
Dosage and Delivery
It can take a little while for a single hit of cannabis to unfold, so go slow. Take a hit or two and wait a while. Let your body and mind adjust and see where you are at. You can always take more, but once you cross a certain threshold, there’s no going back, and you will just have to wait it out or sleep it off.
Different methods also have slightly different effects. One step down, water pipes or bubblers cool the air so it’s easier on your lungs, but it will also make it easier to take longer hits unintentionally. A bong can be a bit like a cannon and blast you very high very fast, so be mindful when approaching these methods.
Joints and small pipes are a little more surgical, allowing for smaller increments and better control of how much you actually receive. Vaporizers and vape pens are similar in that they allow for small doses to slowly ease into your sweet spot.
What To Do If You Smoke Too Much?
Sometimes a strain may just be stronger than you realized, or you accidentally take too much. This can leave you feeling strange, paranoid, or uncomfortable. If you find yourself here, just remember it’s an experience that will fade. But first off, make sure you’re well-hydrated. Also, and this may come as a surprise: a common household ingredient — black pepper — can accelerate your come down. It may sound crazy, but it’s not an old wives’ tale (or old hippy’s tale). Pepper contains terpenes that can alleviate your high.
Or, you can simply go lie down, turn off the lights, put on some relaxing music and sleep it off. You’ll wake up rested, refreshed, and hopefully more aware of your cannabis limits.