It’s a pattern that a lot of cannabis consumers can fall into without even realizing it – over consuming cannabis. Literal overdoses on cannabis can often go unnoticed because this plant is so safe and non-toxic.

However, when you take very high doses of cannabis, you can down-regulate the endocannabinoid system, often causing side effects most of us would rather avoid.

Downsides to over consuming can be subtle and yet they can build over time, leading to increased anxiety, being extremely sleepy, less motivated, raising your tolerance, and starting to depend on cannabis more than previously.

So there is definitely a sweet spot of consuming enough cannabis to receive the benefits and effects you are looking for WITHOUT any of the downsides. And that sweet spot is different for everybody. If you are indeed over consuming, reducing your dosages may feel counterintuitive at first but the benefits to better optimizing your dose are very real.

So that begs the question, why is it that we so often consume more cannabis than we actually need? How do we get stuck in these cycles?

From my experience, there are 6 reasons:

#1) The Enjoyment of Consuming

Some people just really like the sensation of smoking or vaporizing. And taking only one or two pulls leaves them feeling dissatisfied.

Plus, with vaporizers increasing in popularity people are starting to taste more of the terpenes and subtle flavors in their cannabis these days, which can be quite enjoyable and make it harder to refrain from over consuming.

Also, if you live in a state where you can go to a dispensary and have safe access to a growing selection of edibles, concentrates, flowers and products, it can be exciting and hard to turn down.

cannabis products including tinctures, edibles and flower
All the new cannabis options out there can be hard to resist!

#2) Delayed Effects

It can take a while for the effects of cannabis to come on, and if you tend to get impatient, especially when around others who feel the effects before you, it can become easy to over consume.

Many people keep consuming until they feel the effects, which can easily cause you to consume too much.

Cannabis usually has an arc to the experience, so it might start slow and then come on more powerful with a little time. In other words, just because you don’t feel it right away or the effects feel minimal doesn’t mean they won't get stronger in five minutes or even 30 to 60 minutes.

woman vaping cannabis
Have you ever thought about cannabis micro-dosing? Consuming much less than usual?

#3) Social Engagement

Let’s face it, when you have someone else to consume with it can be fun, engaging and easy to get caught up in the moment. I myself have been in these situations thinking I probably don’t need any more cannabis right now but then I would still say yes when someone handed me the device instead of just passing it along. I just didn’t want the experience to end.

friend smoking cannabis in the living room
When you’re with friends, it’s easy to get caught up in the moment and overconsume cannabis.

#4) Society

The concept of more is better is a strange cultural mentality pressed on so many of us even as children. There seems to be this underlying thought in our society that the more we have the better we will feel about ourselves and how others view us.

This tends to create the thought in many minds that “if it’s there, why not?” Meaning if I rolled the joint why waste it and not finish it, or I’ll look more impressive, professional, or experienced if I consume as much as everyone else.

All this instead of having the thought that we might actually gain more benefits and have a more enjoyable experience from having LESS. And this doesn’t just apply to cannabis but everything in our lives.

woman buried in handbags
Where did we ever get the idea that more was better?

#5) Out Of Habit

Our subconscious minds can get stuck in patterns of behavior and thinking. So if you have certain activities that you always consume cannabis with, what happens is your subconscious mind starts to work on autopilot. Without thinking, we just start consuming before or during these activities, because that’s what we’ve always done. Just like milk and cookies, or for some people it’s watching football and drinking beer.

football and a glass of beer and milk and cookies
What are some of your habits?

#6) We Go Unconscious

Many of us are living stressful lives, where every part of our day is planned out; we carry a lot of weight and worry on our shoulders, and cannabis brings us instant relief. You start to feel relaxed, grateful, open… and the weight on your shoulders just seems to lift away.

This break or pause for most people feels so good that they just keep consuming and consuming because it feels like such sweet relief. But taking too much can quickly diminish the beneficial effects and cause you to experience more of the negatives (ie fatigue, anxiety, loss of motivation).

Bringing Awareness to Your Consumption

I encourage you to bring an awareness to your consumption, think about the reason behind why you are consuming in the first place. And to be honest with yourself if you are consistently consuming beyond the point where you’ve had enough.

If you find any of these 6 reasons I mentioned come up for you or maybe another reason for over consuming, try to practice self-control. Experiment with less and see what happens and how you feel.

Almost every single time I have the thought I should probably stop and I don’t, I can guarantee that the effects of the cannabis for that session are not going to be as enjoyable and beneficial for me as they are when I consciously stop consuming at the right time.

What you will discover is that by consuming less cannabis, you actually become more aware of the subtle effects that cannabis has on your physical, mental, emotional and energetic states.

We would love to hear from you. Do you ever feel like you’re over consuming? If so how do you pull back and what changes have you noticed after doing so? Please share your experience and advice with the community, so we can all learn from each other.