With the legalization of cannabis-infused foods and their growing popularity, health experts urge the users to be aware of the health risks that cannabis edibles may carry. These edibles pose various risks not only for the users but for their families and pets as well.
People are eager to use cannabis edibles for both recreational purposes and to ease some health issues, such as anxiety and different sleep disorders. One research has discovered that 80% of consumers would rather buy cannabis edibles than make their own as buying premade edibles was more convenient.
One of the main risks of consuming cannabis-infused foods is overconsumption. Edibles certainly are a safer option for consuming cannabis compared to smoking or vaping, but consuming cannabis in the form of edibles may take up to four hours to feel the effects, whereas smoking cannabis produces an almost instantaneous effect. Consequently, consumers may increase the size of their portion due to the delayed effect, leading to overconsumption.
Furthermore, the effects of edibles last longer than the effects of smoking cannabis — up to eight hours — meaning, users have impaired judgment and coordination for much longer.
Additionally, the state-allowed dosage of cannabis edibles may have different effects on different people. Some may be more sensitive (or new) to cannabis than others, making them more likely to overdose even with smaller bites.
Edibles also come in very appetizing forms like cookies and candies, which poses an even greater risk for children, pets, and the elderly.
The state poison control center in Colorado saw an increase (70%) in calls concerning accidental cannabis exposure in children after the legalization of cannabis edibles. The elderly often suffer from greater cognitive impairment, arrhythmia, and hypotension, which are most commonly associated with falls after consuming cannabis edibles.
Health professionals could easily solve this problem by educating their patients on potential risks that the consumption of cannabis edibles carries, as well as child safety, delayed effects of edibles, and how they interact with other substances like alcohol, opioids, and sleeping aids.
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Written by Bojana Petkovic