Recently, four men in England hiked the country’s tallest mountain, Scafell Pike. But when it came time to descend, they had to call the authorities for help. Turns out they’d become “incapacitated” from ingesting too much marijuana. British rescue authorities along with air support and an ambulance were deployed, and the group was successfully guided back down the mountain. The authorities and much of the general public in the UK and abroad weren’t too happy with what they deemed a bunch of “idiotic” stoners wasting the local government’s time and money. Needless to say, the incident cast a negative light on cannabis and those who consume it.
Depending on where you stand, the case may be funny or maddening, but it raises some good points about cannabis dosing, delivery methods and the question: How much marijuana is too much for me?
Effects of Cannabis May Vary
Although the Scafell Pike incident isn’t a common occurrence, it does prompt a second look at making sure that people know enough to recognize their limits when it comes to marijuana. Every cannabis plant has different amounts of various compounds. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are the primary cannabinoids in marijuana that are responsible for:
- improving your mood.
- reducing inflammation.
- acting as an analgesic.
- helping to manage pain.
Plants that are higher in THC produce psychoactive results, while plants with more CBD tend to be non-psychoactive. This is why it’s recommended you start low and go slow when consuming. And it’s important to pick the right strains, consumption method and dosing that will give you the effect you want, whether that’s relaxation, pain relief or a creative spark.
What to Consider before Consuming Cannabis
Everyone should take a few things into consideration before consuming cannabis including tolerance level, what you’ve eaten or had to drink that day and how you’re consuming. Although similar, smoking will give you a different effect than vaping, just like eating an edible will produce a different experience than taking a sublingual tincture.
How Much Marijuana Is Too Much?
Honestly, the answer to this question is all up to you. Everyone’s endocannabinoid system is unique, meaning dosing is also unique to each individual. Whereas one person might remain completely lucid and calm when ingesting 20 mg of THC, another person consuming the same amount could experience panic attacks, paranoia and impaired motor skills.
“For some people, cannabis can help them attain a psychological space that blocks out extraneous things and focus on their mind, body and one repetitive motion,” Dr. Perry Solomon, the chief medical officer of HelloMD, shares in a recent article for Vogue magazine.
Dr. Solomon adds that “you can use the same [marijuana] product one day and feel a different affect another day.”
Again, it all depends on the individual—their mood, what they’ve had to eat and drink—as well as the medicine. In fact, keep in mind that some variances can arise between products, batches and strains with the same names.
Learning Your Limits with Cannabis
The best way to figure out what dosage works for you is to experiment on a day off when you don’t have to work, drive or fulfill any other obligations—just in case it ends up being too much for you. Try sampling small amounts and observing the effects before increasing in small increments.
With smoking, you can take breaks between puffs to see how you feel. If there’s a new tincture that you’ve never tried before and you’re unsure of your tolerance, begin with half or less of the recommended dosage and wait at least two hours before having more. This allows you to pay attention to how you feel so you ingest the amount of cannabis that’s right for you.
If you find you’ve had too much THC and are feeling anxious or on edge, consider taking a product that’s high in CBD. A lab-tested CBD oil in particular can help most folks counteract the effects of THC. That said, your individual makeup and genetics as well as the level of anxiety you’re feeling will factor into how you respond to the CBD.
Photo credit: @dmat