Medical marijuana is becoming more and more acceptable as a treatment alternative for many diseases and disorders. THC content in many strains is higher than it was in the past, and with the development of new varieties and methods of administration, many patients will occasionally overindulge or overestimate how much they need to use to get relief. Talking to one of our Ohio Medical Marijuana Doctors can help you determine a good dose to start with. Take our easy 5-minute eligibility survey to find out if you pre-qualify to become a patient.
The effects of overindulging on marijuana can be quite frightening. Many of us have made the mistake of underestimating the potency of medical marijuana. For some, the THC content is much higher than what they’ve used in the past; other patients have never tried it at all and use a starting dose higher than what they need. It’s important to remember that the feelings are temporary and will fade as the THC is eliminated from your body. While you are in no danger of dying from using too much medical marijuana, it’s good to know some ways to ease the symptoms you might experience if it happens to you.
Symptoms of overindulging with THC
- A drop in blood sugar levels can lead to feeling sick or weak. This is often referred to as a “green out.”
- Feeling shaky or even having tremors.
- Increased heart rate or palpitations.
- Increased blood pressure.
- Extremely dry mouth.
- Paranoia and/or anxiety.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- For heavy users, there is the risk of psychosis. This can include panic attacks, anxiety, and delusions. There is still debate going on about whether cannabis itself can cause these effects or if it triggers an underlying mental health issue that includes psychosis.
- Start low, go slow. It’s far easier to take another puff, eat more of an edible, or use a bit more tincture if you need it. New patients especially should start with a very small dose (3-5 mg or less) and work their way up to the amount that is most effective for them. If you’re vaping or smoking, wait 15-30 minutes to see how you feel before using more product. Those who have access to edibles need to be more patient as it takes longer – up to 90 minutes – to feel their effects.
- Learn your personal limits. It is okay to be a lightweight. Some people don’t need as much marijuana to get relief as others do. Once you discover your optimal dose, try to stick to it as much as possible to avoid overindulging.
- Be aware various routes will affect you differently. Inhalation provides quick relief but the effects are short-lived (2-3 hours at most). Nasal sprays or inhalers may act even faster than vape oil or smoking flower, and generally the immediate effects wear off after a couple of hours. Edibles are different since the THC is metabolized in the liver. While you may not feel anything for up to 90 minutes, the high may be more intense and prolonged, with the patient being affected for up to 8 hours or even more.
- Get comfortable. Try to avoid stressful environments or situations. It’s a good idea to have a place where you can lie down if you’re going to be using more than normal. Loud places and lots of people can really enhance the sensations associated with using marijuana, especially when you overindulge.
Ways to Combat That Too-High Feeling
- Don’t panic. Remember, the feelings will fade with time. These sensations are temporary. Take some deep breaths. Meditate.
- Use some CBD oil or tincture. A rapid-acting form of CBD oil will help lessen the overwhelming feeling you get when you use too much THC. CBD helps modulate THC receptors and lessens the anxiety related to overconsumption. Tinctures or oils taken sublingually (under the tongue) can start working in as little as 3 minutes.
- Chew or sniff some black peppercorns. Pepper binds to the same receptors in your brain as THC and can help calm you down.
- Increase your blood sugar. A snack containing simple carbohydrates like orange juice or milk with graham crackers will help bring your glucose level back up to normal and may lessen or eliminate feelings of weakness or the shakes.
- Drink plenty of non-alcoholic fluids. Water, juice, and sports drinks are all good ways to stay hydrated. Alcoholic beverages are not recommended since alcohol can enhance the effects of THC; it can also increase the symptoms of dehydration like dry mouth.
- Take a shower or bath. The water will help you relax.
- Distract yourself. Watch a movie, eat a snack, talk with friends; find a way to keep your mind off what is happening.
- Go for a walk or engage in light exercise. Fresh air will do you good, and a change of environment may help with the uncomfortable feelings you’re having.
- Take a nap. Switch off the lights, turn on a fan, and curl up in bed with a pillow and blanket. Sometimes sleeping it off is the best thing you can do.
- Ride it out. If your reaction is not overwhelming, just kick back, relax, and enjoy your trip. Put on some music or open the windows so you can listen to the sounds of nature. Grab a pen and paper – do some writing. Paint or draw. Play your guitar or other instruments. Watch the sunset (or sunrise). Embrace those heightened sensations while they last.
Whether you use medical marijuana on a regular basis or just when you need it for symptom relief, it is important to learn your limits and respect them. You owe it to yourself to become a responsible and educated consumer. Discovering the line between just enough and too much can be scary, but it should not keep you from taking advantage of the beneficial aspects of this amazing plant. Talk to one of our Ohio Medical Marijuana Doctors for more information about the therapeutic benefits of medical marijuana and what it can do for you.