What Are Edibles?
Edibles are food products that have been infused with marijuana. These products come in a variety of different forms that can include:
- Baked goods
- and more
Edibles can be homemade or prepared commercially for dispensaries. When made at home the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, is usually extracted into oil or butter that can be used in cooking or spread directly on food.
Though smoking THC still remains incredibly popular, more people are using edibles than before. Ease of use, lack of smell and the ability to obtain edibles from many places means that the popularity is only going up! The risks of using edibles are not being communicated to new users, however and that can lead to many issues for those unfamiliar with edible THC.
The Risks of Consuming Edibles
The effects of marijuana edibles last much longer than smoking, usually up to several hours depending on the amount of THC consumed, the amount and types of the last food eaten, and other drugs or alcohol used at the same time.
The amount of THC is difficult to measure and is often unknown in many edibles. Regulations and quality assurance regarding the determination of THC content and product labeling are generally lacking, and as a result the dosage estimation for many edibles is often inaccurate. Even if a package has amounts listed, there are no guarantees of the dosage or proper testing. Do you know what’s actually in your edibles?
Consequently, many products contain significantly more THC than labeled and people who consume these edibles can be caught off-guard by their strength and long lasting effects.
Delayed Onset and High Potential for Overdose
Perhaps the most prominent difference between smoking marijuana and eating edibles is the delayed onset of effects associated with edibles. Whereas the effects of marijuana usually occur within minutes of smoking, it can take between 30 minutes to 2 hours to experience the effects from edibles. This delay can result in some people consuming a greater than intended amount of drug before it has taken effect leading to more concentrated and worrying effects.
Marijuana overdose is also referred to as acute marijuana intoxication. Research has shown that edibles are the form of marijuana consumption most likely to lead to emergency room visits for marijuana overdose, and the authors of at least one study believe that this is due to the failure of users to fully understand the delayed effects of these products and how it might impact them.
Serious Negative Side Effects
The symptoms associated with eating highly potent edibles are often much more severe than the symptoms experienced after smoking marijuana.
According to Dr. Nora Volkow, the current director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, edibles are now being associated with “medical complications that we never knew were associated with marijuana”.
Some of the more adverse effects associated with the consumption of edibles include:
- Anxiety and panic attacks.
- Psychotic episodes.
- Impaired motor ability.
- Respiratory depression.
- Heart problems (ranging from irregular heartbeat to heart attack).
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