When People Smoke/Drink Too Much Weed And Freak Out And Go To The ER

Don’t need answer fast.

Anyway, since weed has become legal in a few states, from time to time you’ll hear about somebody who smoked/ate too much weed, freaked out, and went to the ER.

Does the ER actually do anything to treat the patients? If there were a quick & easy freakout cure, you’d think it would be out there by now. Do the ER’s give them a prescription sedative or something? Or do they just tell the patients there’s nothing they can do and to wait it out?

My WAG is that they give them some kind of benzo (xanax, Klonapin etc) just to get them to stop panicking and slow them down a bit. Beside that, it’s just a matter of keeping them calm and doing whatever they need to make them feel comfortable until they start coming down. For some people that might mean someone in there talking to them, others might just want the TV on and some people might just want to try and sleep. Considering they usually ate the weed, it’s probably going to be 3-5 hours before they come back down to Earth. But with some Xanax, I’d guess they’d stop panicking after an hour or so and maybe another 2 hours later, even someone unfamiliar with the effects should start to feel normal enough to get past the ‘I’m never going to come back’ feeling which is usually what makes them so scared to begin with.


Waiting times at the ER are sufficiently long to burn through any [10]-level weed highs, especially for someone without an actual emergency.

Looking around, the NIH suggests benzos but goes on to say that medical intervention isn’t really necessary unless there’s something else going on. Either they’re having problems breathing or hallucinating etc (but that might mean the pot is cut with something). One cite said that part of the problem is that people don’t realize it’s a pot cookie (or know it, but don’t know how strong it is) and eat 5 or 6 or 7 when the ‘dose’ is 1 cookie and they end up extremely high or high for days and start having panic attacks.
But yes, if your friend that hasn’t been high since college took a few too many bong hits and is freaking out, he’ll probably be okay in a few hours.

I do sometimes wonder how many of these “I ate a pot cookie by accident and had to go to the ER” are people just trying to make a politically motivated point. I’m sure some are legit, but pot cookies/brownies have been around for as long as I can remember and I’m sure people have been eating them by accident since the 70’s. Did it make the national news then?

For those of us ignorant of these things, what is the “freak out” the OP refers to. What do folks do and why do they think they’re doing it?

I assume something like a panic attack. Pot would sometimes have that effect on me. About one out of every three or four times it would send me into a panic attack, becoming very aware of my racing heartbeat, world turning into a slowed-down film strip, disassociation (feeling as if I’m outside my body looking down), thinking I’m going to die, etc. That sort of thing. But after a couple of these experiences I knew what it was, so I would just ride it out – about 30 to 45 minutes or so. That said, that’s one reason I personally don’t smoke anymore.

This happened to one of my roommates. The four of us shared pot brownies. I had very little as I was afraid about driving, but my girlfriend (who was very large) ate one and then was unable to order at the restaurant after. However, the roommate in question, who couldn’t have been 95 pounds, ate several of them, and got much too high. Her heart started racing, and she already had some congenital heart issue, and it upset her so that she spent several hours in the ER.

She acted differently from that time forth and soon moved out. I always wondered what that was about…

They’re hallucinating. My friend’s were of demons and such things. They put her in a hospital for a while and then tried to discharge her after it was obvious she wasn’t dying. She was still messed up and didn’t want to leave, so they sent her off to a mental hospital. After a day or so she was back to mostly normal and a friend picked her up.

We give benzos and send them home, or just send them home.

Anecdote: I have seen 2 cases where a middle aged person ate prescription cannabis for the first time and came in with tachycardia, but can’t actually say it was causitive.

When I was a teenager I ate too much one time and had a panic attack. I went to the ER and after taking my blood pressure and heart rate told me just to sit in the waiting room in case I got worse, I sat there a few hours and went home. Just being in the waiting room made me feel better.

If it ain’t too busy, Ativan and turn the lights out in your room. If it’s busy, a responsible sober adult to take you home.