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Is There A Lethal Dose Of Cannabis?

September 30, 2022
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Can marijuana kill you?

Are you looking for answers to the question "Can marijuana kill you?" It’s a reasonable question to ask, especially if you were taught “marijuana kills” early in your life, but have recently discovered that many people use cannabis for health and wellness benefits. 

Can you die from weed?

To “die” from a drug, one must overdose, which has never been observed with cannabis. Weed contains no chemical that has been shown to cause people to overdose and die.

So the answer to the question "Can you die from weed?" is definitive: “no, you can't die from a weed-induced overdose."

Weed can contribute to death due to:

  • Intoxication
  • An underlying health condition such as a heart condition

Cannabis has been a contributing factor in fatal car accidents. Research has found that from "2000 to 2018 the percentage of crash deaths involving cannabis increased from 9 percent to 21.5 percent.”

When a person consumes cannabis, chooses to drive, gets in a car accident, and dies, the cause of death is driving while under the influence. Cannabis is a contributing factor but the individual's choice to unsafely drive a car after consuming cannabis is the cause of death.

Persons with underlying cardiac conditions must be mindful not to consume substances that can increase their heart rate (such as caffeine or cannabis). Research has found that for people with certain heart conditions, cannabis consumption can increase the chances of having a heart attack by around 4.8 times. When you have any health condition it is important to speak with your doctor about what you consume. 

Can you die from being too high?

In toxicology, there is something called median lethal dose (LD50). A substance is tested to determine the specific titrated dose that consistently causes half the animals in a test group to die. This is called the LD50 of a substance.

In research with dogs, it was determined that 3g of THC per kilogram (2.20462 pounds) of body weight is a deadly dose. Stating the findings of this research in another way, "if the dosage were the same in people, a 140-pound (63.5kg) individual would require 190.5g of THC to kill them. As a result, if you had a strain with a potency of 20% THC, you'd need 952.5g (33 ounces/ 2.06 pounds)" of weed to achieve the LD50 found in the study.

In September 1988, Francis L. Young, Administrative Law Judge for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) stated:

  • “Marijuana's LD-50 is around 1:20,000 or 1:40,000.” 
  • “In order to induce death a marijuana smoker would have to consume 20,000 to 40,000 times as much marijuana as is contained in one marijuana cigarette.” 
  • “A smoker would theoretically have to consume nearly 1,500 pounds of marijuana within about fifteen minutes to induce a lethal response.”
  • “In strict medical terms marijuana is far safer than many foods we commonly consume. For example, eating ten raw potatoes can result in a toxic response. By comparison, it is physically impossible to eat enough marijuana to induce death." 

Young’s assessment of marijuana's safety led to marijuana being accepted for use with medical supervision.

So, in short you cannot die from being too high. However, if you over-consume cannabis you might experience adverse side effects.

The answer to the question "Can marijuana kill you?" is "No.” A judge for the DEA determined that the amount of marijuana that needs to be consumed to reach an LD50 is so high that marijuana has no set LD50 for human overdose.

Marijuana can however contribute to deaths when consumed irresponsibly and/or there is an underlying health condition.

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