Cannabis edibles are growing in popularity, while cannabis products become more widely accepted across the country and beyond. However, it looks like science is suggesting that we look a little closer at the edible craze.
In the United States, there are 11 states, plus Washington D.C., where the recreational use of cannabis is now legal, with far more legalizing of the drug for recreational use projected in 2020. In Canada, according to the 2019 National Survey, over 27% of the total respondents that used cannabis reported using edibles as a means of consumption.
Health professionals are warning that the general public should tread lightly as they explore cannabis edibles, as it may be a misconception that edibles are a healthier option over vaping or smoking the drug.
Sometimes the onset of the psychoactive effects from edibles will not show up for up to four hours after consuming the edible, and those same effects have the potential to last longer when consumed in a digestible form. This can result in a person consuming too much of the drug, while not realizing that the effects take a while to set in.
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Another concern addressed in a recently published commentary in the Canadian Medical Association Journal is the accidental consumption of edible products by children in the home. A study published in Pub Med reported that after edibles were announced legal in Colorado, calls to poison control regarding accidental cannabis ingestion increased by 70%, which is concerning due to the fact that research has connected youth exposure to marijuana with potential impaired brain development.
Older consumers who utilize the drug for chronic pain and illness may also be at risk for cognitive impairment and therefore falls, as well as side effects from the use of edibles with other prescription drugs. While a U.S. study found that medical marijuana could present more risks for those with mental health disorders, identifying that cannabis can exacerbate psychosis in patients who have schizophrenia.
This commentary published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal suggests that education around the potential risks of edibles is the most crucial component to ensure safety while research around this topic continues.