Can you really overdose on weed?

Reports claim that a U.K. woman passed away from smoking half a joint

Smoking weed
(Image credit: (Sean Gallup/Getty Images))

It's already well documented that you can get extremely paranoid from smoking too much weed or give yourself a terrible stomachache after a terrible case of the munchies.

Now, add sudden death to the list of those fears.

The Telegraph reported that 31-year-old Gemma Moss collapsed in her bedroom and died after toking on just half a joint. An autopsy revealed that there was nothing wrong with her except for "moderate to high "levels of THC in her bloodstream when she died, leading the coroner to believe she had a marijuana-induced heart attack and smoked herself to death.

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Take a deep breath, stoners: It's important to note that there's been some doubts cast on the veracity of these claims.

A 2003 editorial in the British Medical Journal explained that one large Swedish study of 45,450 males showed that there was no increase in the 15-year mortality rate of those who smoked weed. Another study that involved more than 65,000 men and women also didn't link an increased risk of death with puff-puff-passing.

Margaret Haney, a professor of neurobiology at Columba University Medical Center and the director of the Marijuana Research Laboratory at Columbia Psychiatry, told that she's never heard of anyone overdosing on weed in her experience, nor has she heard of anyone dying from an allergic reaction to marijuana.

Robert S. Gable at the American Scientist explained that marijuana is one of the least likely illicit drugs to kill you. To do that, you would need to consume at least 100 to 1,000 times the dose that would get you high.

"My surmise is that smoking marijuana is more risky than eating it but it is still safer than getting drunk," he wrote.

And, pot may actually be good for your health — in addition to its medicinal benefits of course. A study published in The American Journal of Medicine showed that people who smoked weed were more likely to have a smaller waist circumference, have lower levels of insulin after fasting, and higher levels of good cholesterol than those who didn't smoke weed. That basically meant not only were weed smokers skinnier, they were also less likely to be "skinny fat" and have diabetes.

Of course, it's possible that doing things under the influence of weed can kill you. A December 2013 study in The American Journal of Epidemiology showed that fatal marijuana-linked car accidents tripled in the last decade. Drugs accounted for 28 percent of all traffic fatalities in 2010, and weed was the culprit behind more than one-third of those cases.

The cardiac arrest scenario is also plausible, if not proven, Haney points out.

"Cannabis certainly has cardiovascular effects (increases heart rate very reliably for example) so it is not risk-free, particularly for someone with an underlying cardiovascular condition," she said.

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