Making Cannabis a Treat versus a Trick

Published 11/1/2018

Healing yourself with cannabis should be a treat. Ingesting some cannabis infused homemade brownies start you with the giggles…but sometime later you may feel like a hot lava cube is spreading through your nervous system causing pain and dysphoria. Your heart starts racing. You think you are having a heart attack. Finally, your cotton mouth moves with the sound of “help” and 911 is called.

These scenarios are all too prevalent to paramedics now that recreational marijuana is legal is 9 States and medically legal in 30 States. In Canada the ER visits for “green out” what they call cannabis overconsumption, has tripled. In Denver Dr. Eric Lavonas, an emergency physician and medical toxicologist at Denver Health Medical Center, states they see three or four a week. Cannabis today is cultivated to produce high potency -9-tetrahydrocannabinoi or THC…up to 28% from what used to be 5%. First aid from paramedics includes hydration, calm reassurance that the effects will wear off with time, and anti-nausea or anti-anxiety medications. While the incidence with adults is very low the incidence for children and teens increased four-fold between 2009-2015 in Colorado when recreational cannabis became legal.

Parents who use cannabis need to safeguard their products the same way they treat alcohol, medications, opioids, and household cleaning chemicals. The 1st home antidote for overconsumption of THC is cannabidiol or CBD. CBD is non-psychoactive. Taking at least 10 mg of CBD without THC will speed up the reversal of symptoms. CBD unlocks the THC from the receptors and mitigates the side effects. All these measures help hasten the recovery. Most adults do not need hospital admission. Everyone’s metabolism is different. A dose that gives you a “high” may be like eating sugar free candy for someone else. We all make mistakes with medications and edibles. Ever misread the directions on a medication label and take the medicine daily instead of three times a week. We are all human. What saves us is good quick “first aide.” If someone brings you a bag of pretzels from a dispensary and you eat the whole bag

because it tastes so yummy do not panic. At the first signs of a “high” chew some black pepper corns, drink 12 ounces of water, and tell someone in the house to get the CBD. Stay calm and take a CBD tincture under the tongue and breathe. Time, food, and fluids is your best antidote. Cannabis is not lethal. There are no receptors for THC in the brain stem which controls breathing. Lastly become educated by a cannabis nurse navigator who will point you to safe medicinal cannabis, and teach you how to use it.

Ruth Hill, RN, is a retired hospice nurse doing evaluations in Coachella Valley, CA. To schedule an evaluation with Ruth, please visit:


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