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November 12, 2019
Due to the abuse of THC-rich cannabidiol oils in a method of consumption known as “dabbing”, it is possible to overdose from cannabis.
Formerly, marijuana legalization groups would cite that in order to overdose from use of cannabis one would have to consume a ridiculous amount: a 140- pound individual would have to consume 4 pounds or more of marijuana in an extremely short amount of time before the threat of death. However, with cannabis oils now reaching up to 80 percent THC concentration, the effects of dabbing- inhaling smoke from super-concentrated oils- are immediate and can lead to a potentially dangerous loss of consciousness.
The most credible instance of marijuana causing a death occurred because a man passed out due to a THC rush. He died as a result of head injuries caused when he hit the hardwood floor. This may seem relatively minor, but it has resulted in many cannabis clubs in legal states prohibit on-site consumption. Conferences for cannabis enthusiast have reportedly required emergency assistance on several occasions for guests who passed out due to dabbing.
If a cannabis user develops an allergy to THC and partakes in dabbing, the effects can be life-threatening. While most people with cannabis allergies report only minor irritations like sniffiling, itchiness of the eyes, nose and throat, and minor headaches, these symptoms can intensify into anaphylactic shock. This potentially lethal condition can cause the airways to close and the tongue to swell, cutting off breathing. Low blood pressure and shock set in without emergency supportive therapy, leading to loss of consciousness and death.
The overdose and toxicity of cannabis is a gray area among opponents on both sides of the legalization debates. The toxicity of cannabis is an ongoing study, but the results thus far suggest more health risks than previously believed. Studies by the National Institute on Drug Abuse counter the myth that cannabis has no physical effects on the body. The psychoactive ingredient THC has been shown to affect the brain’s structure and development in teenage smokers. Parts of the neurological system associated with memory, learning, and impulse control are shown to be impaired in regular cannabis users that began as teenagers. A study in New Zealand showed teens who began smoking in adolescence lost an average of 8 IQ points when retested at a middle age. Those who smoked heavily as teen and quit during the time that elapsed between the tests did not regain any IQ points. Participants that began smoking in adulthood were unaffected and lost no IQ points.
It is a myth that cannabis smoking does not carry the same risks to the respiratory system as cigarette smoking. Marijuana smoke contains carcinogens and other toxins similar to those in cigarettes. Smoking either will cause respiratory irritations that may aggravate pre-existing conditions such as asthma and cystic fibrosis. A buildup of phlegm in the lungs can cause bronchitis, pneumonia, or other lung infections. As with cigarettes, smoking cannabis can increase the risk of developing lung, mouth, or throat cancers.
Ingestion of cannabis or its byproducts increases the heart rate and opens the blood vessels. These effects can last upwards of an hour and pose a risk to those with heart conditions and low blood pressure.