What You Need To Know Before Cannabis Edibles…
Author: Ersilia Pompilio RN, MSN,PNP
Edibles are food products that contain cannabis extract. Cannabis is a great natural source of fiber that contains multiple bioactive cannabinoids. From brownies to gummy bears, edible cannabis can be found in a variety of different food groups. Food products containing edible cannabis have been growing in popularity in recent years.
Edibles are often considered a safe, discreet, and effective way of getting the therapeutic and or intoxicating effects of cannabis without the risks of smoking. The main reason why people take medicinal cannabis is to feel better. Many take it to relieve symptoms of anxiety and or stress. The main difference between ingestion of cannabis and inhalation of cannabis is that there is a delayed drug effect of cannabis with ingestion.
States who have legalized medicinal cannabis use have more people consuming edibles.
A study in 2016 that surveyed twitter found that most tweets had shared positive attitudes about cannabis edibles. Of course, occasional tweets were expressing adverse effects when consuming edibles. The study further warns that more education is needed for naïve users and improving the labeling of edibles and testing their THC content.
Moderation Is Key
Edibles come in many different forms, including baked goods, candies, gummies, chocolates, lozenges, and beverages that may be homemade or prepared commercially for dispensaries. Ingesting cannabis is an effective means of taking cannabis for medicinal purposes to get therapeutic effects.
An article in Thrillist stated that the factors that make for an outstanding edible are consistency in cannabinoid content, accurate dosing (with reliable THC: CBD ration), freshness, flavor, onset, duration, labeling, and packaging.
Newbies who are novices to the edible cannabis world usually make the mistake of consuming too much cannabis. Compared to smoking cannabis, ingesting it has a delayed response, usually makes people overeat edibles. As you can imagine, this can have profound effects once cannabis starts to kick in.
The typical onset of psychoactive effects from cannabis edibles can be delayed for up to 4 hours after consumption, and the effects can last for more than 8 hours total. Peak THC levels can be achieved approximately 3 hours after ingestion. This can lengthen the duration of impaired judgment and coordination experienced compared to inhaled cannabis.
Too Much Can Land You In The Emergency Room
Compared to inhaling cannabis, ingestion has an increased risk on public health due to overconsumption.
Children (and pets) are at risk of accidental ingestion and overconsumption of cannabis because many edibles resemble candy or other food and drink. After the legalization of cannabis edibles in Colorado, the state poison control center saw a 70% increase in calls for accidental cannabis exposure in children from 2013 to 2017. Studies of health care usage reported more children than adults being treated for ingestion incidents. However, the most at risk are older adults. And for both of these age groups, serious side effects can result in a trip to the emergency room.
Cooking With Cannabis
Adding cannabis in cooking has also grown in popularity, both for medicinal cannabis and recreational cannabis. Several educational platforms explain how to cook with cannabis, including cookbooks, YouTube cooking shows, and even a cooking competition on Netflix called Cooked with Cannabis.
Although cooking with cannabis is much more complex than just tossing a few cannabis leaves into some brownie mix. Eating raw cannabis will not give you the effects of eating cannabis that has gone through a process called decarboxylation, which means heating it to become activated.
Raw cannabis contains Tetrahydrocannabinol acid (THCA), which is the primary psychoactive component of marijuana and causes a sensation of ‘getting high.’ Cannabis also contains cannabidiol acid (CBDA), which is not psychoactive and can bring relief to people suffering from pain without the mind-altering effects of prescription pain medications.
Edible-related videos are easily found on YouTube, often instructing how to bake your own edibles. However, these videos lack needed information for safe consumption, and most are not age-restricted. Videos showing how to make edibles or entertainingly presenting edible use could influence youth to initiate it.
You can also find edible cannabis recipes on Pinterest. Studies show that Pinterest recipes do not contain dosage information, serving size, health effects, and responsible usage.
But First You Need A Medicinal Cannabis Card
Possession of a medicinal cannabis card allows the purchase, with details dependent upon state law (e.g., approved conditions and amount allowed to possess). Currently, thirty-three states and the District of Columbia dispense medicinal cannabis cards.
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Because it is an intoxicant, THC has been subject to much debate over safety concerns, the potential for abuse and misuse, and misinformation. And of course, intoxication can lead to an individual putting themselves in potentially harmful situations. While there are no known cases of marijuana overdose or fatality, there’s always an associated risk: it’s the same reason most medications come with the warning, “do not operate heavy machinery while using.”
As with any medication, there is potential for misuse and harm. If you wish to use medical marijuana, it’s essential to regularly consult with your physician to assess how it’s working for you. However, with proper consultation, regular reassessment, and careful consumption, you too can reap the benefits of medical cannabis.
Our goal at Medical Cannabis Doctors is to improve quality-of-life for those experiencing illnesses by providing credible cannabis education, access to compassionate licensed medical marijuana doctors, and an engaged community.