I looked at the thumb-sized edible brownie in my hand and thought, "This little dude looks so harmless." The weed expert at the dispensary in Denver told me to take half of it. But I was hungry, and these pot brownies were so tiny. So I might have had a little more than half of one — and damn, did shit hit the fan. Now I'm wondering, can I die from marijuana overdose?

The Beginning of the End

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Kristine Mahan

I didn't feel the effects of the pot brownie right away. The weed expert at the dispensary said it could take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours. (That estimate doesn't help the most impatient person on the planet.) So now I'm sitting in a hotel room in Denver, watching Planet Earth with my best friends, waiting for this stuff to kick in. I decide that another brownie wouldn't hurt — I'm hungry after all —and I want to spare my friends the wrath of my hanger.

All of a sudden I can't stop laughing. I don't even think anyone said anything funny — I just can't stop laughing. It's a good high. The kind that you want (or at least, me). And when something like that works, you want more of it to keep it going. So I took more. And that was a bad decision. 

My laughing turned into paranoia. Everything around me freaked me out. Why can't I feel my fingers? Why can't I physically move my body? Why am I so thirsty? WTF is wrong with me?

So I start Googling, "Can I die from weed overdose?" And as much as I felt like I was going to die, it turns out that you can't. 

Edibles are More Dangerous Than Smoking 

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Photo by Hannah Morse

Let's get one thing straight: marijuana edibles are more dangerous than smoking. A doctor told ABC News that because of the delayed reaction to consuming an edible, it puts the user at risk of higher levels of THC in the bloodstream.

“What we’re seeing with edibles is that the effect is delayed for approximately 30 minutes, depending on the person,” Dr. Bronstein explains. “People get impatient for the effect and will take more, and then the symptoms are more pronounced than what they were expecting.” 

Keep in mind that the Colorado mandated serving size for marijuana-infused edibles is 10 milligrams of THC. A starting dosage for beginners is 5 mgs. So that's why the weed expert told me to eat only half...

The More You Know

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Photo by Abby Wang

Colorado's suggested serving size (read suggested) is 1-5 mg for new consumers, 5-10 mg for occasional users, and 10-15 mg for frequent consumers. Cooking edibles at home yields more caution. The Cannabist says that if you're going to do some at-home baking, remember that 1.5 grams (150 mg) of marijuana divided into a 60-cookie recipe will yield 2.5 mg per serving. 

There have been deaths linked to marijuana use — but never because of an overdose. According to New Health Guide, if 3 puffs of marijuana smoke gets you high, it would take 120,000 puffs of marijuana smoke to be fatal. That's 40,000 times the amount of weed it took to get high in the first place. And my (naive) assumption is that one would pass out way before ever getting to that level. Because that shit makes you sleepy.

That's not to say there haven't been marijuana-related deaths in the past. Weed affects everyone differently. It can impair judgement, coordination, motor skills, and perception. So while you won't die from a marijuana overdose, you might die from doing something absolutely crazy. Like jumping off a hotel balcony.

You're Not Dying

There's no real way to stop the high once you're there. You just have to wait it out until the effects wear off. Just remember that the Drug Enforcement Administration reports that nobody has ever died of a marijuana overdose. Just from being stupid (like driving under the influence).

Don't worry, you'll return back to normal eventually — and that might even come with a marijuana hangover. If you must have a weed brownie, be with people you're comfortable with, keep fatty foods on hand, and watch Planet Earth on Netflix. I suggest hiding the brownies so that you can't find them. Half of one is good enough.