what is an edible
Due to their delay in action and unknown levels of active ingredients, marijuana edibles are not entirely safe.

No, edibles are not safe for consumption because the levels of active ingredients are unknown in these products.

Edibles take about one to three hours to show their effect as the food is absorbed into the bloodstream through the liver. Due to the delay in action, there are chances of overconsumption with an assumption that the drug is not working.

The presence of blood thinners in the bloodstream can cause a dangerous spike in the levels of active ingredients by almost five-fold, causing severe side effects.

What is edible?

Edibles refer to food products infused with marijuana available as chocolate bars, gummies, candies, and more, which serve as an alternative to smoking marijuana.

Edibles come in various forms, including:

  • Baked goods
  • Candies
  • Gummies
  • Chocolates
  • Lozenges
  • Beverages

What are the side effects of edibles?

Edibles, when consumed, exhibit short-term and long-term effects on the brain.

Short term effects

After consuming edibles, they are absorbed into the bloodstream through the liver and carried to the brain and other organs.

The effect occurs after one to three hours and include:

Long-term effects result in some permanent changes to the brain, such as losing mental abilities and functioning.

Overdose with edibles can lead to:

6 reasons for edibles being so popular

Edibles have become popular because of the following reasons:

  1. Provides relaxation and anxiety relief: The active ingredient of edibles, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), is responsible for anxiety relief and making you feel more relaxed.
  2. Pain management: Consuming THC provides sustained analgesic effects more than smoking, serving as an excellent pain reliever that can effectively treat symptoms of conditions, such as
  3. Muscle spasm control: Research suggests that people taking cannabis have reduced muscle spasms and other pain.
  4. Less intoxicating: A study has shown that people prefer taking cannabis through the oral route because it is less intoxicating compared to other routes.
  5. Avoids health risks: Cannabis smoking is linked with lung inflammation and bronchitis, whereas edibles do not pose this risk.
  6. Antiseizure effects: Cannabis has been shown to potentially control seizures in people with epilepsy syndromes. However, more research is required to justify the use of cannabis for seizure control.

Is smoking marijuana safer than edibles?

Most people prefer edibles over smoking marijuana because they are less harmful compared to smoking.

Lung inflammation due to smoking can eventually lead to lung infection. Edibles do not have such risks because they are not absorbed in the lungs.

Cannabis smoking and tobacco smoking are similar in toxicity because both contain a variety of toxins and cancer-causing agents.

Consuming edibles may not pose cancer risk or lung-related risk and may be safer in these aspects. However, there are high chances of overdosing and accidental ingestion with edibles.

Accidental ingestion by children can cause the following side effects:

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Medically Reviewed on 11/18/2021
References
Image Source: Roberto Machado Noa / Getty Images

National Institutes of Health. Cannabis (Marijuana) and Cannabinoids: What You Need To Know. https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/cannabis-marijuana-and-cannabinoids-what-you-need-to-know

American Academy of Pediatrics. Edible Marijuana Dangers: How Parents Can Prevent Pot Poisoning. https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/teen/substance-abuse/Pages/Edible-Marijuana-Dangers.aspx

Barrus DG, Capogrossi KL, Cates SC, et al. Tasty THC: Promises and Challenges of Cannabis Edibles. Methods Rep RTI Press. 2016;2016:10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5260817/

US Drug Enforcement Administration. Drug alert: Marijuana edibles. https://www.justthinktwice.gov/article/drug-alert-marijuana-edibles