Clovers Representing St. Patricks Day

Party Green This St. Patrick’s Day!

They say that everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day. Certainly, everyone is invited to eat, drink and be  merry! Much of the celebration on St. Patrick’s Day in the US is centered around green beer, green shots, green cocktails–whatever you’d like, as long as it is green–and alcohol. The celebration stems from the celebration of Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, on the day he died. In celebration, Catholics are allowed to put aside the Lenten restrictions on food and alcohol consumption, and this is why excessive drinking has become so closely associated with this holiday. But what about other green ways of celebrating? Where does cannabis come in on this, and other holidays?

Did you know that 6 people die per day in the United States from alcohol poisoning? That’s 2,200 per year! And there are 261 deaths per day related to excessive alcohol use in this country, more than 95,000 per year. Alcohol poisoning most often occurs from binge drinking. A “binge” is more than 5 drinks at a time in males, 4 in females. A drink is 12 oz of beer, 5 oz of wine, or 1.5 oz of “hard liquor”. Alcohol poisoning leads to slow, irregular breathing, seizures, decreased heart rate, hypothermia, vomiting, and an inability to wake up, and then, possibly, death.

Let’s compare these numbers to cannabis related deaths, and cannabis poisoning numbers. Oh, wait a minute–it is IMPOSSIBLE to die from too much cannabis. There is no such thing as cannabis poisoning. You can take too much cannabis and feel too high, and there are cannabis related side effects including cotton mouth and munchies, even occasionally feelings of paranoia and anxiety, but there is no possibility of dying from an overdose of cannabis. I have teased patients, telling them that if they took five tractor trailers full of cannabis they would be “high as hell”, they might eat everything not nailed down, and they might sleep so heavily that I could draw a picture on their face and they wouldn’t awaken, but when they awakened from it there would be no side effect of hangover. Compare this to the feelings you have the day after drinking too much alcohol. Drink too much and the next day you might awaken with a headache,
an upset stomach, or even feeling like a bus ran you over! Not much of a choice here, right? So, if you are wanting to cut loose and party for St Patrick’s Day, but don’t want to risk death, serious
illness, or even a bad hangover, perhaps you should consider celebrating with the green plant rather than green booze!

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