Is Cannabis Overdose Possible? – Debunking Myths
In our previous post, we discussed drug tests. We saw that a cannabis drug test is pretty serious. If people are so bothered with it, then, probably, marijuana can be dangerous? Can I die from a cannabis overdose?
Short answer: NO.
Long Answer: In 2017, marijuana remains classified as a Schedule I drug in the United States according to Controlled Substances Act. In simple words, from DEA’s point of view, cannabis has “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.” Huh?
This claim has not stopped 39 states from launching medical marijuana programs. Four states and D.C. allowed recreational use. On the federal level, cannabis is still illegal.
Activists and politicians throughout the country have noted that cannabis should be rescheduled. Research says that cannabis is a good weapon to battle opioid abuse. Many states openly go against federal prohibition to offer their patients an effective medicine to relieve their conditions, and the reasons for DEA’s resistance remain unclear. Even President Obama changed his stance towards cannabis.
You will probably be surprised, but in 1988, DEA Chief Administrative Law Judge Francis Young literally claimed that cannabis overdose is virtually impossible. Trying to encourage lawmakers to reschedule cannabis, he noted that conventional medicines are dangerous than marijuana. Young wrote that
Drugs used in medicine are routinely given what is called an LD-50. The LD-50 rating indicates at what dosage fifty percent of test animals receiving a drug will die as a result of drug-induced toxicity. A number of researchers have attempted to determine marijuana's LD-50 rating in test animals, without success. Simply stated, researchers have been unable to give animals enough marijuana to induce death.
At present it is estimated that marijuana's LD-50 is around 1:20,000 or 1:40,000. In layman terms, this means that 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. NIDA-supplied marijuana cigarettes weigh approximately .9 grams. A smoker would theoretically have to consume nearly 1,500 pounds of marijuana within about fifteen minutes to induce a lethal response.