Medically Reviewed by
Jason Crawford

Article Last Updated on January 2, 2023

Smoking weed is a favorite pastime and social activity for many users, and for a good reason – it’s a great ice breaker in social situations, and it’s also a good companion for the moments when you just want to relax and do nothing for a while. 

However, every now and then, someone might smoke too much and not have a good ol’ time. In fact, they can have a pretty unenjoyable time. We’ve all been there at least once (hopefully, just once), and if you haven’t, you’ll find out what it’s like in the paragraphs below

Smoking too much weed can be quite unpleasant, so in this article, we’ll talk about what happens when you smoke too much, the effects you can expect, and how to avoid getting too high.

The Effects of Smoking Cannabis 

When you smoke weed, the active ingredients enter your bloodstream and start circulating through your body, eventually reaching your brain. The two main cannabinoids, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol), activate the cannabinoid receptors in the brain, and it’s not long before you start feeling the effects.

THC is the main psychoactive compound that gets you high. When it gets to the brain, it influences the release of dopamine, the feel-good hormone, which causes feelings of intense relaxation and euphoria. Your senses feel sharpened, time seems to move more slowly, and you feel blissful in the midst of it. That is, until you smoke too much.

How Much Cannabis Is Too Much?

There isn’t a universal amount of cannabis that’s considered the limit before it gets too much. Instead, too much cannabis is the amount that’s more than what your body can handle. And this varies from user to user as we all have different bodies with different tolerance levels. 

While weed tolerance is flexible and increases and decreases according to your cannabis use, it’s best to meet yourself wherever you currently are on your weed journey. Even seasoned users have their limits, even though their tolerance is quite high.

Is Cannabis Overdose Fatal?

A very commonly asked question by users and non-users alike is if you can fatally overdose on cannabis. While the side effects we talked about can be highly unpleasant and even downright scary with the potential to turn you away from ever smoking weed again, cannabis doesn’t seem to cause a fatal overdose. There have not been any reports of fatalities due to cannabis use, unlike other substances such as opioids, and even alcohol whose overuse can be fatal. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) backs this up by stating that “a fatal overdose is unlikely, but that doesn’t mean marijuana is harmless.” The side effects might make you think you need to go to the emergency room, but they tend to be temporary, even though it might feel like it would last forever.

What Happens If You Smoke Too Much Weed?

As we already mentioned, when you smoke weed, it activates the cannabinoid receptors in the brain. When you smoke too much weed, it sends them into overdrive, resulting in all kinds of side effects. The receptors are normally activated by the neurotransmitter anandamide which is naturally produced in the body, but it’s nowhere near as intense as THC. That’s why large amounts of THC in the body can cause such a stir-up.

So if you smoke too much weed, it will cause a so-called green-out (or white-out). Greening out refers to experiencing negative effects from cannabis with greater intensity than the usual dry mouth, red eyes, and munchies. The symptoms are the following:

  • Paranoia and heightened anxiety
  • A feeling of heaviness in your extremities or a lack of mobility
  • Increased heart rate
  • Dizziness or lack of focus
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Chills or sweats
  • In severe cases, hallucinations and psychosis

The side effects last as long as the high lasts and usually start subsiding as time passes, which should gradually make you feel better. If you’ve smoked a lot, they can last for longer than a typical high, so it’s important to have patience and simply ride it out, even though it’s uncomfortable. 

Are Negative Effects From Weed An Emergency?

The side effects you can get from smoking too much weed are usually not dangerous for most people and don’t require medical help. You just need to brace yourself and ride it out. However, for some people with existing health problems, like heart disease or respiratory issues, it may or may not require medical attention. 

It’s a known fact that marijuana smoke is an irritant and releases toxic chemicals similar to cigarettes, such as carbon monoxide, that can further irritate the lungs and throat. Moreover, THC causes a temporary spike in blood pressure which for most people is tolerable but may put people with heart diseases at risk. 

Therefore, individuals with heart and respiratory conditions should be especially careful when smoking weed because the side effects are highly dose-dependent. And as always, seeking medical advice from a cannabis-informed health care provider is always encouraged.

What Are the Long-Term Effects of Marijuana Use?

Due to its legalization, research on marijuana use is more prevalent than ever before – which is why we now know so much more than we used to (but it’s still in the early stages). There are a lot of things we have yet to learn about its health effects in the long run, but this is what we know so far about it.


Excessive marijuana use can cause dependence, a condition also known as Marijuana Use Disorder as defined by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). However, cannabis is no more addictive than other substances. Research has shown that compared to heroin, cocaine, and even nicotine, the rate of cannabis dependence is significantly lower (and with less severe withdrawal symptoms).


Getting high is always associated with a subpar performance on short-term memory and attention, and these effects tend to last while you’re under the influence. However, long-term cannabis use may cause prolonged negative effects on short-term memory, attention span, and cognitive abilities in moderate to heavy users. These effects seem to diminish, though, when marijuana use is discontinued for at least a few months, to give time for the body to bounce back and recover.

However, chronic marijuana use during adolescence when the brain is still developing can have permanent negative consequences and is thought to cause lower IQ in the long run (as well as cognitive difficulties).

Mental health 

Medical marijuana can be used to treat the symptoms of anxiety and depression and there is some research to back this up. However, regular cannabis use during adolescence can actually lead to an incidence of depression later in life, according to this study.

Physical health

The most notable effects of marijuana on physical health are on the respiratory system due to the smoke as an irritant, however, unlike tobacco, cannabis has not been associated with COPD. 

Cannabis is contraindicated in pregnancy as it was concluded that mothers who smoke cannabis during their pregnancy can cause serious consequences on their child – including impediments in brain development which can result in notable deficiencies in cognitive performance.

Try to Avoid Getting Too High When Smoking Marijuana 

If you’ve ever experienced getting too high, you already know how unpleasant it is and probably never want to experience it again (and understandably so). The best way to avoid going overboard is also the simplest way – start low and go slow. It’s really as simple as that. Smoking gets you high in about 15-20 minutes, so you’ll know whether you need another hit soon enough, unlike with brownies when you need to wait for longer (30 min – 1h+).

It’s also good to know what type of flower you’re smoking. High-THC strains have a higher chance of getting you too high, so you’d better take note of that. Listen to your body – usually, you can tell right away if the joint is working for you or not. 

Finally, make sure you’re getting high with a loved one or someone whose company you enjoy. That way, even if you do end up smoking more than intended, at least you’ll feel safer than if you’re among strangers.

Conclusion – Very Uncomfortable Side-Effects That Can Be Avoided

Smoking weed is great until you smoke too much. When that happens, instead of euphoria washing over you, you will have uncomfortable physical symptoms and feel all but euphoric.

Don’t worry, though. The effects are short-lived, and while terrifying, remember that you’re not in danger.

Weed side effects do not require medical attention, unless they aggravate a pre-existing medical condition. The best way to avoid putting yourself in this situation is to always be mindful of how much you smoke and stick to lower doses.

A passionate advocate for the benefits of cannabis. Fraser Horton, who has a background in botany and a strong love of nature, has spent years researching how cannabis affects the body and mind. He established Leaf Nation in 2020, where he has devoted himself to educating people about the legalisation of marijuana and its safe and responsible use. Fraser is committed to highlighting cannabis’ potential for improving wellness and working to dispel the stigma associated with its use.


The information presented on this page is provided as a public service to aid in education and is derived from sources believed to be reliable. Readers are responsible for making their own assessment of the topics discussed here. In no event shall Leaf Nation be held reliable for any injury, loss or damage that could happen if using or abusing drugs.