Dear Alice,

Is it possible to die from a pot overdose?

Dear Reader,

The term "overdose" (or OD) refers to the negative, sometimes fatal, effects of taking an uncommonly large amount of a particular drug or combination of drugs. Although commonly associated with illegal, recreational drugs, such as heroin or cocaine, it is equally true that many common and beneficial drugs (e.g., over-the-counter medicines and prescription medications) can be harmful when taken in sufficiently large quantities. For example, aspirin can be dangerous if taken in large enough doses because it is toxic to the liver. Even too much water can be unhealthy in certain circumstances!

Given this, it might be surprising to know that in all the many years people have been using marijuana, to the best of anyone's knowledge, no one has ever died from a pot overdose. In technical jargon, marijuana has no level of acute toxicity.

So, while marijuana poses certain hazards, such as the possibility of slamming your car into a lamppost while stoned or the cancer risk of chronic smoking, the possibility of dying from an overdose isn't one of them.


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