Consuming too much cannabis can lead to a range of symptoms, from anxiety to nausea. While these symptoms usually don’t cause lasting health effects, there are a few cases when you may want to get medical care.
While cannabis may have some potential benefits, too much of it can lead to a negative experience.
To date, there are no deaths reported from consuming too much cannabis — but that doesn’t mean you can’t overdo it. Too much cannabis can lead to a range of symptoms, from anxiety to nausea and vomiting. While uncomfortable, these symptoms usually aren’t a cause for concern and subside on their own.
Here’s a closer look at the symptoms associated with consuming too much cannabis and how to ease the discomfort they cause.
The following physical symptoms can occur from consuming too much cannabis:
- dry, red eyes
- fatigue or lethargy
- increased heart rate
- nausea and change in appetite
- thirstiness or a dry mouth (aka “cotton mouth”)
If you consistently consume a lot of cannabis, you might find that your tolerance increases. This means that you may need higher doses of cannabis to get the same effect.
Building a tolerance can be especially problematic for those who use cannabis for medical reasons. A tolerance break can help you reset your cannabis tolerance.
Cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome
Cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome (CHS) involves severe nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. For people with CHS, even small amounts of cannabis can trigger severe symptoms. People typically develop it suddenly, even after using cannabis for years.
Experts need to learn more about CHS, and there’s currently no cure. A 2022 research review noted that abstaining from cannabis use is the most effective way to avoid CHS symptoms, but researchers are exploring other treatments.
High doses of cannabis can also cause psychological symptoms like:
- difficulty concentrating
- mood changes
- thoughts racing
In rare cases, it can cause more serious psychological symptoms like:
- panic attacks
In some extremely rare cases, cannabis use may contribute to the onset of psychosis. which can include symptoms like:
- memory loss
- disorganized speech
- difficulty feeling or expressing emotions
If you think you or someone else is experiencing psychosis, contact emergency services or get immediate medical care.
Again, consuming too much cannabis is rarely a medical emergency, despite how uncomfortable you may feel. Symptoms will subside as the effects wear off. In the meantime, these tips can help things feel more manageable:
Remember that it will pass
When you have a bad reaction to cannabis, you may begin to worry that something is severely wrong with you or that it may not end. Try to remind yourself that these feelings are temporary and will likely disappear within a few hours.
Sleep it off
If you’re experiencing physical or psychological symptoms, sleep might be the best thing for you. You’ll probably feel better when you wake up. Prepare to feel a bit tired and groggy, though.
Keep a glass of water handy, and place a bucket next to your bed if you’re feeling nauseous.
Sip on water. This is especially helpful if you’re experiencing cotton mouth, nausea, or headaches. The repetitive sensation of sipping water may also help you feel a little calmer.
If you’ve been throwing up, an electrolyte drink might be helpful.
Overstimulation and stress can make you feel more on edge. If you’re in a crowd or a noisy area, try to go somewhere quiet where you can relax and unwind — even if it’s just a bathroom or toilet stall.
Alternatively, getting some fresh air on a balcony or in a garden might help soothe anxiety, nausea, and racing thoughts.
If you’re experiencing the symptoms of CHS, such as nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain, heat might be helpful.
Although there are currently no formal treatments for CHS, a 2022 review suggested that some people with CHS can frequently take hot baths and showers. This might bring them temporary relief, as can applying capsaicin cream to their stomachs. A hot water bottle may also help.
Why heat? It seems that a peripheral tissue receptor interacts with the endocannabinoid system. It is also the only known capsaicin receptor, and heat affects it. This might explain why exposure to heat can soothe CHS symptoms.
Tired of waiting things out? These tips can help you speed up the process.
On its own, consuming too much cannabis isn’t a medical emergency.
However, there are some situations when it might be best to get medical help. For example, if someone is experiencing hallucinations or signs of psychosis, get emergency help as soon as possible.
You may also want to get care if you’re experiencing recurrent vomiting. If you keep vomiting and are unable to keep water down, you may be at risk of dehydration. A healthcare professional can provide intravenous rehydration to help replenish lost fluids.
Consuming too much cannabis can result in a range of uncomfortable symptoms. These will typically go away on their own as the effects wear off. While you wait it out, try to give yourself space to relax and rest, if possible.