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Consuming Cannabis: The Dangers of Edibles 

By March 24, 2023 March 28th, 2024 No Comments
The risks of consuming edibles.

Despite their appeal of looking like candy or baked goods, it doesn’t make edibles any less dangerous when compared to taking other drugs. Whether taken recreationally or medically, consuming cannabis is risky and addictive no matter what.

If you’re interested in finding out more about the dangers of marijuana edibles, the short and long-term side effects, and why you should think about quitting edible cannabis products altogether, then this is the article for you.

What Are Weed Edibles?

Weed edibles are cannabis-based food products that you can either eat or drink. You may have seen them come in a wide variety of different shapes and forms, ranging from infused drinks to gummy bears to chocolate bar edibles. Some people make them at home or they can be bought in marijuana dispensaries.

They contain the chemical tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) or cannabidiol (CBD), which each produce different effects. With the legalization of marijuana, both CBD and THC edibles have become more popular and more available — or hybrids of both.

When it comes to CBD vs THC edibles, CBD is non-intoxicating and is often taken for therapeutic purposes.

On the other hand, THC produces psychoactive effects, which is what creates the feeling of being high. The latter is the more dangerous of the two.

Another thing to keep in mind is that weed edibles come in a variety of different strains to look out for:

  • Sativa: This is the most potent strain that contains THC and CBD, often producing an energetic high.
  • Indica: Contains both THC and CBD, known to relax the user and help you sleep.
  • Hybrids: Contain strains of both Sativa and Indica, with a mixture of THC and CBD, usually resulting in relaxation, better energy, and improvement in mood.
  • CBD only: Is made with pure CBD and doesn’t produce a “high.” Often used for therapeutic reasons, such as reducing anxiety, improving sleep, and pain relief.

Despite the desirable effects that weed edibles claim to produce, they also come with side effects like any other drug. If you don’t know exactly which strain of edible you’re taking, it could be bad news.

For example, someone who thinks they’re taking a CBD gummy when it’s a potent strain of Sativa could wind up taking a trip to the hospital for the mixup.

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The Dangers of Marijuana Edibles

Many people believe that ingesting THC edibles is harmless when compared to smoking cannabis. This seems to make sense if you’re eating them in the form of a cookie or candy without the harmful chemicals that you take in from smoking marijuana.

However, most people don’t know that edibles pose an even greater risk to your health than smoking weed.

The main dangers of edibles are that the body processes them differently, which results in a much longer-lasting and stronger high for the user. Edibles are much more potent when compared to smoking marijuana. Even if you were to smoke a bit too much, the effects usually wear off within a couple of hours. On the other hand, you could be suffering all day if you consume too many edibles or have a bad reaction to the THC.

The Short and Long-Term Risks of Consuming Cannabis Edibles

If you have a low tolerance to marijuana or consume too much at once, you may experience problematic short-term side effects like:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Increase in blood pressure
  • Anxiety or panic attack
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Shaking or tremors
  • Hallucinations
  • Decreased judgment

Experiencing symptoms like these is extremely uncomfortable and concerning.

Due to the potency of edibles and the long-lasting effects of consuming cannabis, you could be feeling sick and anxious all day without any relief until it wears off. It depends how much you consume and how your body reacts to the ingredients.

Apart from these short-term risks, did you know that cannabis use can also impact your health in the long run as well? Some of the long-term effects include:

  • Impaired memory and brain development
  • Chronic cough
  • Poor heart health
  • Chronic bronchitis

Regular edible consumption can also worsen existing mental health issues, especially when it comes to triggering paranoia and psychosis.

Are There Any Serious Side Effects of Edible Consumption?

Any time you take drugs, including cannabis use, it’s a gamble — and you’re at risk of developing a problem.

Regular use leads to building a tolerance, causing you to need more and more weed edibles each time to produce the same effects.

This is a risky situation to be in because it can lead to consuming too much if you up the dose.

Despite the common myths that weed is “natural,” edible addiction is very real. You can become physically and mentally dependent on the high that consuming cannabis provides, causing withdrawal if you ever try to cut back.

Many users report uncomfortable symptoms like:

  • Marijuana cravings
  • Decreased appetite
  • Disturbed sleep
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Agitation when quitting edibles

Unfortunately, there is nothing natural and harmless about that. Another one of the lesser-known serious side effects of edibles is cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome (CHS).

People experiencing this generally suffer from severe vomiting, abdominal pain, and dehydration brought on by consuming edibles every day.

While not everyone experiences CHS, it’s most commonly seen in people that have been involved in long-term cannabis use.

Sometimes it’s a vicious cycle because most people think cannabis use fights nausea, especially since it’s known for helping ease sickness in chemotherapy patients. However, in cases of CHS, it’s the cause of nausea.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t stop there. Like most drugs, the most serious risk of consuming cannabis is overdosing. Doctors may also refer to it as acute marijuana intoxication.

Sadly, there has been a major spike in cannabis-related emergency visits in recent years. This is partly due to marijuana legalization and the fact that it’s much easier access to potent weed edibles.

While most people who overdose will experience a variety of unpleasant and dangerous symptoms, there are still some fatalities recorded. However, to avoid the risk of hallucinations and psychosis, it’s best to avoid marijuana edibles completely.

Edible Cannabis: Getting Too High Without Realizing It

Many users agree that most chocolate bar edibles and gummy bear edibles with THC taste pretty good, which is why it’s so easy to overdo it. However, even when they come from legal dispensaries, it’s hard to regulate the exact amount of THC in each piece.

Sometimes the products are sold with the amount of THC listed per piece, while other times it’s listed for the entire bag. The requirements vary from province to province, so you’re always taking a bit of a gamble by consuming edibles.

Things get even more problematic when it comes to homemade edibles.

Since marijuana differs in its potency depending on the strain and where you got it, you simply cannot know exactly how much THC is in each edible. If you’ve been given them by a friend or from someone you met at a party, you could put yourself at serious risk of overdosing or having an allergic reaction.

Since it takes longer to feel the effects of weed edibles when compared to smoking, it can result in you consuming way too much.

Most people can agree that disguising them as candy is extremely deceiving. Before you know it, you’re too high without even realizing it — and there’s absolutely nothing you can do about it apart from waiting it out or seeking medical attention if you overdose.

How to Avoid and Mitigate This Situation

Remember, even though edibles can be bought legally doesn’t mean they’re safe.

The best way to avoid the risks of getting too high without realizing it is by quitting edibles and cannabis use altogether.

The dangers of marijuana edibles aren’t worth the risk when you look at the serious long-term effects. Just like the abuse of alcohol or other drugs, edible addiction can be extremely problematic — known as cannabis use disorder.

Cannabis addiction is characterized by feeling powerless to stop, despite the drug usage creating personal and professional problems in your everyday life.

Get Help for Edible Cannabis Addiction

If you or a loved one is struggling with edible addition, our team at Trafalgar can help you regain control of your life. We offer both inpatient and virtual treatment programs at our CARF-accredited mental health and addiction rehab centre.

For users who are severely addicted to edibles or are navigating multiple addictions, looking into our inpatient treatment program for cannabis addiction is the best place to start. You can stay up to 90 days or more in a cozy, home-like environment — with the length of your stay largely dependent on the severity of the addiction.

You’ll receive a treatment plan that’s tailored to your specific needs, including individual and group therapy, family communication and partner therapy, as well as aftercare support to help you stay on track in your sobriety.

On the other hand, if you’re able to quit edibles from home, then virtual treatment for cannabis addiction is an excellent alternative to spending months in a residential program. You’ll be equipped with all of the same tools and support system that you receive in the inpatient program.

Our Master’s level registered therapists will help you beat the edible addiction along with any underlying mental health issues that you’ve been experiencing. The best part is that you can do all of this from the comfort and privacy of your own home.

Are you ready to quit edibles and start your journey to long-term recovery? Then give us a call at Trafalgar Addiction Treatment Centres today.

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