Navigate Up

Women's Center - A-Z Index

#
Y

Print This Page

Marijuana intoxication

Marijuana ("pot") intoxication is the euphoria, relaxation, and sometimes undesirable side effects that can occur when people use marijuana.

Marijuana is the most commonly used illegal drug in the United States. The drug is usually smoked, but is sometimes eaten.

Alternative Names

Cannabis intoxication; Intoxication - marijuana (cannabis); Pot; Mary Jane; Weed; Grass; Cannabis

Symptoms

The intoxicating effects of marijuana include relaxation, sleepiness, and mild euphoria (getting high).

Smoking marijuana leads to fast and predictable signs and symptoms. Eating marijuana can cause slower, and sometimes less predictable effects.

Marijuana can cause undesirable side effects, which increase with higher doses. These side effects include:

  • Decreased short-term memory
  • Dry mouth
  • Impaired perception and motor skills
  • Red eyes

More serious side effects include panic, paranoia, or acute psychosis , which may be more common with new users or in those who already have a psychiatric disease.

The amount and effect of these side effects varies from person to person, as well as with the amount of marijuana used.

Marijuana is often cut with hallucinogens and other, more dangerous drugs that have more serious side effects than marijuana. These side effects may include:

  • Sudden high blood pressure with headache
  • Chest pain and heart rhythm disturbances
  • Extreme hyperactivity and physical violence
  • Heart attack
  • Sudden collapse (cardiac arrest)

Treatment

Treatment and care involves:

  • Preventing injury
  • Reassuring those who have panic reactions due to the drug

Sedatives called benzodiazepines, such as diazepam (Valium) or lorazepam (Ativan) may be given. Children who have more serious symptoms or those with serious side effects may need to stay in the hospital for treatment. Treatment may include heart and brain monitoring.

.

Expectations (prognosis)

Uncomplicated marijuana intoxication rarely needs medical advice or treatment. Occasionally, serious symptoms occur. However, these symptoms are rare and usually associated with other drugs or compounds mixed in with marijuana.

Calling your health care provider

If someone who has been using marijuana develops any of the symptoms of intoxication, has trouble breathing, or cannot be awakened, call 911 or your local emergency number. If the person has stopped breathing or has no pulse, begin CPR and continue it until help arrives.

References

Binh LT, Clark RF, Williams SR. Hallucinogens. In: Marx JA, Hockberger RS, Walls RM, et al, eds. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier;2009:chap 154.

Updated: 1/30/2013

Eric Perez, MD, St. Luke's / Roosevelt Hospital Center, NY, NY, and Pegasus Emergency Group (Meadowlands and Hunterdon Medical Centers), NJ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.


©  UPMC | Affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
Supplemental content provided by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions. All rights reserved.

For help in finding a doctor or health service that suits your needs, call the UPMC Referral Service at 412-647-UPMC (8762) or 1-800-533-UPMC (8762). Select option 1.

UPMC is an equal opportunity employer. UPMC policy prohibits discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, sex, genetics, sexual orientation, marital status, familial status, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected group status. Further, UPMC will continue to support and promote equal employment opportunity, human dignity, and racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity. This policy applies to admissions, employment, and access to and treatment in UPMC programs and activities. This commitment is made by UPMC in accordance with federal, state, and/or local laws and regulations.

Medical information made available on UPMC.com is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely entirely on this information for your health care needs. Ask your own doctor or health care provider any specific medical questions that you have. Further, UPMC.com is not a tool to be used in the case of an emergency. If an emergency arises, you should seek appropriate emergency medical services.

For UPMC Mercy Patients: As a Catholic hospital, UPMC Mercy abides by the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, as determined by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. As such, UPMC Mercy neither endorses nor provides medical practices and/or procedures that contradict the moral teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.

© UPMC
Pittsburgh, PA, USA UPMC.com