Marijuana Edibles (Risks and Side-Effects)
What do you know about the health effects of edibles? Are edibles safe? Is marijuana addictive? Many do not realize that although packaged as sweet treats, edibles can have extremely unpleasant side effects. Often people may believe that because there is little to no harm because marijuana is not being smoked. Unfortunately, that is not the case. It is merely a different type of risk instead. They are not any safer of an alternative and are still very much a drug.
Ultimately, edibles still contain the powerful agent found in most marijuana products, THC. Here we will dispel common myths by looking at edibles’ side effects, all about marijuana addiction, and ways you can find help. Are you already dealing with the dangers of edibles? Give us a call now at 614-502-6247, and we can find a treatment center right for you!
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Cannabis Edibles 101
First, let’s explore what an edible is. Edibles are foods that have Marijuana in them. Marijuana also referred to as cannabis, is the most commonly used illegal drug in the United States. The cannabis extract contains the same tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) found whether marijuana is smoked, eaten, or vaporized. THC is the main component of marijuana that gets you high.
Edibles have become popular in states like California. They celebrate the legalization of marijuana. People open entire restaurants dedicated to cannabis-based treats. Many of these are from a variety of techniques including, a butter containing cannabis extracts. One of the most popular edibles, though, is the brownie. You may have heard it referred to as a “weed brownie,” and its popularity may stem from how easy it is for ordinary people to make and sell it. Plus, according to The New England Journal of Medicine, the federal government does not regulate marijuana edibles.
Thanks to its mass appeal, there is often a lot of myths and misunderstandings around marijuana. People think it to be relatively harmless, with few long-term effects. Plus, most do not understand the vastly different effects of smoking marijuana and eating it on the person. People often flock to edibles for their accessibility and intense high, but let’s take a look at edibles’ real health effects.
The Health Effects of Edibles
So, what are the side effects of THC edibles? Cannabis edibles have a few effects that we cannot ignore. While you avoid the health risks of smoke on your lungs, that does not mean edibles are necessarily healthier. The first significant effect is that edibles have a higher risk of overdose than the standard method of smoking marijuana. For instance, some reasons for this increased risk of overdose include:
- The effects of smoking marijuana only take minutes. Edibles, however, take between 1-3 hours because the food absorbs into the bloodstream through the liver. The user may consume more massive amounts of the drug while thinking the drug isn’t working because it takes longer.
- THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, is very difficult to measure and is often unknown in these food products.
- Suppose the user has other medications in his or her system. In that case, their body may metabolize different THC levels, causing THC levels in the bloodstream to dangerously increase five-fold.
- Overdose symptoms from eating marijuana are often more severe than symptoms of an overdose from smoking marijuana.
The main culprit here, THC, has powerful effects regardless of how someone consumes it. THC can cause you to experience trouble with thinking and problem-solving. Many THC users also deal with memory issues. Others struggle with attention and learning. Some of the other dangers of edibles include hallucinations, paranoia, impaired movement, panic attacks, and psychotic episodes. None of these effects sound all that great and may end you up in an emergency room. The after-effects of an edible induced high can leave you feeling out of touch with reality, which can be extremely scary for many people. Another unfortunate consequence of edible consumption is the role it plays on young people.
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Children and Edible Abuse
One of the lesser recognized harms of edibles is the influence it has on children. People market edibles in a way that mimics children’s candy. If you go to a dispensary, you will notice that many edibles have bright packaging and colorful fonts. Edibles can also make it easier for children to try compared to other forms of marijuana since, in a child’s eyes, it would be no different than eating a candy bar or gummy. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) found the following:
A review of data from the National Poison Data System from 2005 to 2011 found that decriminalization of cannabis was associated with increased reports of unintentional exposures in young children (up to 9 years of age; Cannabis-related calls to poison control centers in decriminalized states increased by 30.3 percent per year and stated undergoing a transition to decriminalization had an average increase of 11.5 percent per year.
While marijuana is still at the center of various political debates, there has been some progress on this issue. Fortunately, states like Colorado and Washington require labeling on edible packaging to combat some of this risk. These states also require child-resistant packaging and list the appropriate serving size to mitigate the risk of overdose. Ultimately, the last thing you want is your child to consume an edible accidentally. Plus, children are always paying attention. If they see someone consuming edibles casually, they may grow to think of their harmless and risks falling victim to their harmful effects. Like other drugs, edibles do not just impact the individual using the substance.
Why People Continue to Consume Edibles
So why, despite the health effects of edibles, do people continue to consume them? Put, people want to feel good. Like other drugs, edibles are a way for people to get those feel-good surges of dopamine. They feel more “fun” than smoking because there wrapped up in tasty foods like gummies, brownies, and lollipops. They are straightforward to make at home, and people feel like they are a healthier option.
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), these are some of the reasons people continue to consume edibles, “Anecdotal reports attribute increased interest in edibles to several perceptions shared by users: (1) edibles are a discreet and more convenient way to consume cannabis; (2) edibles offer a “high” that is calmer and more relaxing than smoking cannabis; and (3) edibles avoid the harmful toxins and health risks that come with smoking cannabis. However, scientific evaluation of the accuracy of these perceptions is incomplete.”
One of the riskiest consequences of marijuana use is that there are many long-term effects we are still learning about the drug. Fortunately, marijuana has never been linked directly to death, but studies frequently dispel that marijuana is a “safe” drug. Unfortunately, being aware of the risks discussed earlier and still choosing to abuse edibles could be a sign of addiction. Are you concerned about someone you love? Do you think they might be abusing weed? Do you need support for yourself? No matter the case – call us today. With our judgment-free policy, our experts will work with you to make sure you feel safe and secure. Do not hesitate. Call us now, and start getting the help that you deserve.
Signs You May Face a Marijuana Addiction
One important thing to consider when informing yourself about edibles is the genuine nature of addiction. Do you notice that you are a loved one who misuses edibles or other cannabis products frequently? According to the CDC, here are some signs there is a marijuana addiction:
- Unsuccessful efforts to quit using marijuana
- Giving up important activities with friends and family in favor of using marijuana.
- Using marijuana even when it causes problems fulfilling everyday jobs at home, school, or work
One of the major misconceptions around marijuana is that people cannot become addicted. As the CDC found, not only is this untrue, but nearly 1 in 10 marijuana users end up addicted. This number grows to 1 in 6 for individuals under the age of 18. All of this is why it is best to seek treatment soon if you notice a developing substance use issue. As addiction often leads to more of the drug needing more consumption to get the same effect, the high amounts of THC in edibles only increase the impacts cannabis addiction has on your brain.
Addiction can have unfortunate effects on you and everyone around you. It completely changes the way your brain works and can lead to behaviors you would not otherwise exhibit. Addiction affects others when those behaviors start to spill into the home, the school, or the community. Plus, in many parts of the country, marijuana is still an illegal substance. These risks only multiply when combining edibles with other drugs or alcohol. Fortunately, it does not have to spiral that far. There are a variety of steps you can take to find help for substance abuse.
Finding Help for Edible Misuse
Edibles are powerful and have delayed effects compared to other forms of marijuana consumption. If you frequently find yourself battling the harmful effects of edibles, there are a few things you can do to seek help. One important measure to take is to be vocal about the issue with friends and family. People look at marijuana with a recreational lens that they often take the risk of addiction for granted. It can be difficult, but you will want others to know this is a real problem for you to avoid triggers. You can also look into local support groups or forums concerning marijuana addiction.
Finally, addiction is no light matter. It is natural to feel overwhelmed even after you realize the problem. The last thing you want to do is give up. You do not have to let addiction win. We can help you fight the pull of edibles and other drugs. Edibles are not just tasty treats; they can have lasting impacts on your day to day life. They can impact your memory and coordination. Plus, they can cause accidental exposure in children because of poor marketing. Fortunately, you or your loved one can get the help you need today. Do not hesitate to give us a call at 614-502-6247
By Meccah Muhammad
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