Cannabis: Is it Toxic, and Can You Actually Overdose?
Cannabis is a controversial subject in our nation and around the world. With more and more states transitioning to legal medical and recreational use, the topic is hotter than ever.
Yet, despite its growing popularity and legalization, lack of proper understanding concerning cannabis has led to a variety of fears not founded in fact, and often bolstered by fearmongering, politicians or big pharma who may be opposed to legalization altogether.
Cannabis has long been hailed for its alleged medicinal properties, yet others claim it is a toxic drug that can kill. So, can you actually overdose using cannabis? Let’s explore below….
First Off, Cannabis is Not a Killer
Can you OD on Cannabis? The short answer is: no.
When most people ask this question, they want to know if it is possible to die. Presuming there are no underlying health conditions present, a healthy individual’s chances of being able to consume enough chemical actives from cannabis to actually OD nears on impossible.
You can, however, consume too much and have an altogether very unpleasant experience. So why is it that too much alcohol (for example) can kill you, but too much cannabis will only make you feel like that ceiling is getting a little too close?
Let’s dig deeper..
Overdoses Leave You Breathless
When someone dies of an overdose, it is often because the drug in question depresses the respiratory system or causes cardiac arrest. Overdose deaths generally occur when a user becomes unconscious, and the body forgets to breathe. Breathing is an automated function that can become irregular while under the influence.
The Dangers of Opioids – in contrast
Opioids have a profound impact on the lower area of the brainstem, where functions such as breathing are regulated. Heart failure can also occur when brain function that regulates heart rate and blood circulation is affected. Cannabinoids, however, do not affect the same areas as opioids.
Use Your Brain
Opioids impact an area known as the pre-Bötzinger complex. Cannabinoids, by contrast, impact the cerebellum, the basal ganglia, and the hippocampus. These areas deal more with movement and with cognitive function.
Alcohol is More Dangerous
No, your eyes are not deceiving you. Alcohol poses more of a danger to your brain than cannabis does. When you consume enough alcohol that your liver is unable to process it out of your body quickly enough, it affects the same areas of the brain that opioids do.
How Cannabis Affects the Brain – friend of foe?
Many believe in the health effects of indulging in cannabis, and with new research coming to light, they may just be right..
Although we only ever hear about two, there are actually eighty-five different cannabinoids in cannabis. The two usually under discussion are THC (the psychoactive cannabinoid associated with marijuana) and CBD (a non-psychoactive cannabinoid associated with hemp). These both bind to different types of receptors.
See more: THC vs CBD
THC activates the CB1 receptor in your brain and is known to produce the following effects:
- Promotes creativity
- Helps you focus on tasks
- Amplifies thoughts
- Relaxed mood
- Causes sleepiness
- Feelings of euphoria
- Pain and nausea relief
- Can cause thoughts to skew off on tangents
CBD, however, works more indirectly.
Instead of binding to receptors, CBD suppresses the enzyme responsible for breaking down anandamide.
- Results in little, or no, intoxicating effects
- Promotes appetite
- Has a positive effect on the immune system
- CBD helps with PMS
CBD is a legal way to enjoy the health benefits of cannabis. For those living in states where cannabis is illegal, CBD may provide an alternative legal option. Check with your state laws before exploring.
At Hemper we carry a full line of legal forms of CBD Products that contain no more than 0.3% THC. Some forms include:
Like with many things in life, moderation is key to properly utilizing the beneficial effects of cannabis.
For example, consuming too much THC can cause the following symptoms:
- Rapid heart rate
- Increased blood pressure
While overdosing on cannabis isn’t likely to kill you, it will make your life extremely uncomfortable for a short period of time. Make sure to know how much you are consuming and what a safe amount to consume is.
How to Use Cannabis
One of the most effective ways to consume cannabis is by vaping. Vaping is a process that heats up cannabis without causing it to burn. The active ingredients are infused into a mist instead of smoke. Smoking is known to be more unhealthy because of the process of inhaling smoke into the lungs.
Vaping is growing in popularity as a way to inhale many different substances. Whether tobacco or cannabis, the device eliminates smoke and produces vapor instead. This eliminates worries about smoke inhalation in both a personal body, as well as those nearby.
Fatal overdoses have never been linked to the consumption of cannabis, and any cannabis-related deaths are likely due to factors such as a pre-existing or underlying medical condition..
With the invention and rising popularity of vaping, many are choosing to leave smoking behind for this healthier alternative.
As seen in this article, many studies exist showing the benefits of cannabis use. As science looks more deeper into cannabis and the effect its compounds have on the human body, we may see some interesting advances in medical and recreational use evolve as a result..
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