The Dangers of Marijuana Edibles

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Edibles are food products typically made with highly-concentrated cannabis or infused with marijuana. Edibles come in a variety of forms including baked goods, chocolates, gummies, candies or even beverages. They can be made at home or prepared by a commercial kitchen or dispensary for distribution. When edibles are made, tetrahydrocannabinol (an active ingredient in marijuana) is extracted and infused into oil or butter for cooking.

Although smoking is the most popular method of using marijuana, consuming edibles is quickly increasing in popularity. Unfortunately, many people are not aware of the significant dangers and health risks that are present in marijuana edibles.

Increased Risks Associated with Edibles

Smoking marijuana comes with its own risks, but even those who smoke the drug may not be prepared for the heightened effects of edibles. Here are some unique ways edibles affect the user.

Unknown Strength

The potency of edibles is difficult to measure. Regulations for the labeling and manufacturing of edibles are moderate at best. It is hard to determine the true amount of THC in an edible and dosage estimates are therefore imprecise. Thus, you may not know how much THC you are actually consuming.

Longer-lasting Effects

While the effects of smoking marijuana typically last up to three hours, the effects of edibles can last much longer, depending on the amount consumed. Edibles may impact users for several hours and this is heightened if marijuana is consumed with other drugs or alcohol.

Overdose Potential

One of the main differences between smoking marijuana and consuming edibles is the time it takes for the effects of edibles to appear. While you will often feel the effects of smoking marijuana within minutes, it can take from 30 minutes to two hours for the onset of edible effects. Consequently, it is easy to consume a large number of edibles without feeling the full effects, making overdosing a real concern.  

Side Effects of Marijuana Edibles

There are many health consequences associated with editing edibles. In fact, health issues can be even worse with edibles than with smoking marijuana. The following symptoms are possible side effects of marijuana edibles:

  • Drowsiness
  • Anxiety and panic attacks
  • Vomiting
  • Hallucinations
  • Paranoia
  • Impaired motor ability
  • Psychotic episodes
  • Agitation
  • Confusion
  • Respiratory depression
  • Heart problems

Research shows that heart issues are more prevalent in eating edibles than with smoking marijuana. A recent study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that 8% of emergency room visitors who had consumed edibles had heart symptoms such as irregular heartbeats compared to just 3% of marijuana smokers who visited the ER. Consuming edibles was also more likely to lead to short-term psychiatric conditions such as anxiety when compared with smoking the drug.

When To Seek Help for Marijuana Use

While consuming edibles may seem like a harmless way to release stress, it is actually much more dangerous than you may realize. There are many health consequences of consuming edibles. Marijuana dependency is a risk as well. Addiction to marijuana is known as cannabis use disorder. Just like you can become addicted to marijuana from smoking, you can become addicted to edibles as well.

If you find that you are using marijuana despite negative physical or psychological effects, it’s time to take a closer look at how this drug use fits into your life. It could be that you are using marijuana to alleviate boredom, stress, and other negative emotions, or to cope with problems in life. If this is the case, then counseling could be beneficial. 

Call Rehab After Work to inquire about our group therapy for drug use. You will meet with a licensed counselor and a group of your peers to discuss how marijuana use is impacting you. You’ll also explore healthier ways to cope with stressors. Right now, we’re offering all of our programs online through teletherapy.