When you think of an overdose, what comes to mind? Usually it's harder drugs like heroin or cocaine. But marijuana? Most believe that it's impossible to overdose on the popular drug.
But that is certainly not the case across Canada. The country has seen a recent increase in marijuana-related emergency room visits.
Such visits related to marijuana overdoses have tripled in Ontario over the past three years, going from 449 visits (2013-14) to 1,500 (2017-18)!
Whereas in the province of Alberta, this number has doubled, going from 431 to 832 in the same time period.
Unfortunately, this is a nationwide trend. The number of emergency room visits for cannabis overdoses is higher now than it has been in five years. There's not enough data yet to tell whether legalization will affect this trend.
It's most likely that these overdoses are caused by individuals who are eating edibles and accidentally taking more than they can tolerate. It can take up to 20 hours for people that have experienced an overdose on cannabis to come down from a high.
There's definitely a lack of awareness when it comes to edibles, with individuals not understanding how much to consume and the strong, adverse effects they may experience.
One of the major problems with edibles is that their effects are so delayed. So users could inadvertantly consume more than they can handle before the high even kicks in.
Here's how you can tell if you or someone is experiencing a cannabis overdose:
- Rapid breathing
- Elevated heart rate