Is there a lethal dose of cannabis?

To “die” from a drug requires overdosing, which has never been seen with cannabis. There is no chemical in weed that has been shown to cause people to overdose and die.

The answer to the question “Can you die from weed?” is definitely “No, you cannot die from a weed-induced overdose.” However, weed can contribute to death due to:

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

Cannabis has contributed to fatal car accidents. Research has found that “from 2000 to 2018, the percentage of cannabis-related accidental deaths increased from 9 percent to 21.5 percent.”

Photo by Vanessa Nunes/Getty Images

When a person uses cannabis, decides to drive, gets into a car accident and dies, the cause of death is drink driving. Cannabis is a contributing factor, but the individual’s decision to drive unsafely after using cannabis is the cause of death.

Individuals with underlying heart disease must be careful not to consume substances that can increase their heart rate (such as caffeine or cannabis). Research has found that cannabis use can increase the likelihood of a heart attack by 4.8 times in people with certain heart conditions. If you have health problems, it’s important to talk to your doctor about what you’re consuming.

Can you die from being too high?

In toxicology there is a so-called median lethal dose (LD50). A substance is tested to determine the specific titrated dose that will regularly result in half of the animals in a test group dying. This is called the LD50 of a substance.

Studies in dogs have found that 3g of THC per kilogram (2.20462 pounds) of body weight is a lethal dose. To put the results of this research another way, “If the dosages were the same in humans, a 63.5 kg (140 lb) person would need 190.5 g of THC to kill them. So if you had a strain with a potency of 20% THC, you would need 952.5 g (33 ounces/ 2.06 pounds) of weed to hit the LD50 found in the study.

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

  • “The LD-50 of marijuana is around 1:20,000 or 1:40,000.”
  • “To cause death, a marijuana smoker would need to consume 20,000 to 40,000 times the amount of marijuana contained in a marijuana cigarette.”
  • “A smoker would theoretically have to consume nearly 1,500 pounds of marijuana in about fifteen minutes to produce a fatal reaction.”
  • “In strict medical terms, marijuana is far safer than many foods we typically consume. For example, eating ten raw potatoes can result in a toxic reaction. In comparison, it is physically impossible to eat enough marijuana to induce death.”

Marijuana jointPhoto by Volodymyr Bondarenko/EyeEm/Getty Images

Young’s assessment of the safety of marijuana led to marijuana being approved for use under medical supervision.

In short, you can’t die from being too high. However, if you consume cannabis excessively, side effects can occur.

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The answer to the question “can marijuana kill you?” is no. A DEA judge determined that the amount of marijuana that must be consumed to achieve an LD50 is so high that marijuana has no established LD50 for human overdose.

However, marijuana can contribute to deaths when used irresponsibly and/or there is an underlying health condition.

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