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Side Effects Of Cannabis Edibles And What You Can Do To Lessen Them

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If you have been around the cannabis scenes for a while, you are probably very familiar with the brownie. What started out as a means to primarily conceal the use of marijuana has quickly grown into a preferred method of consumption. Though brownies were the parent edible, creativity and innovation has led to a host of other fun and convenient edibles.

Taking edibles is easy, but is it safe? Here are some side effects that you might experience after taking edibles and what you can do about them.

edibles
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What Are Cannabis Edibles?

Also known simply as edibles, marijuana edibles are food products which are cannabis infused. When referring to marijuana, what instantly comes to mind is the smokable pot.

Edibles differ from these both by the method of consumption and effects.

Edibles are now found in a vast number of forms. From baked goods to sweets, to basic foods. Some high class hotels even offer five star gourmet meals infused with weed.

The most common forms of edibles are in the form of:

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

Edibles could be prepared at home or purchased from the cannabis dispensary when made commercially.

At home, THC is mostly extracted in the form of butter or oils which are then used to cook or directly spread onto food. This is where baked edibles such as brownies and cookies are made.

Commercial edibles span from gummies and lozenges to chocolate and beverages.

What is most common about all edibles is that they are the easiest method to consume weed. What’s more, they are fun and enjoyable to take.

And herein lies the crux. One might be tempted to think that they are very harmless. And they can be if used correctly.

However, many times they cause a myriad of side effects.

weed brownies edibles
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Why Are Edibles Different?

As we have discussed, the most common method of consuming cannabis is through smoking either a joint or vaping.  When the joint is burnt, it releases the cannabinoids which you then inhale into your lungs. THC and the other cannabinoids then enter your bloodstream and travel to the rest of your body at which point you will feel their effects.

However, when you smoke cannabis, you end up inhaling more than the cannabinoids. You might also inhale paper, plant matter and other substances that could even be potentially carcinogenic.

RELATED: Smoking Weed Vs. Edibles: Which Is Better For Your Brain?

Experts have warned people about the negative effects of smoking from time immemorial, this makes a good case for edibles, yes?

Edibles do not enter your respiratory system, they are instead digested the same way your body breaks down regular food. As the food is broken down, and introduced into the bloodstream. It is only at this point that you will feel the marijuana effects of your edibles.

Here are some differences between the effects of edibles and smokables:

  • Speed: When smoked, cannabinoids get into the respiratory system and get into the blood almost immediately. The effects of smoking are thus almost instantaneous.Edibles on the other hand have to wait for digestion to take place. Their effects are likely to be felt after roughly about 1 hour or more.
  • Potency: Some studies show that edibles have less bioavailability than inhaled marijuana. What that means is your body ends up using up only a fraction of the ingested cannabis and the rest is lost in the process of digestion. As sound a s this theory is, the amount of THC in a particular edible is usually undetermined, which can end up in excessive amounts of the cannabinoid being consumed.
  • Effects: It is reported that edibles result in more intense and more vividly psychoactive highs in comparison to inhaled methods. This could either be attributed to the amounts of THC that end up being consumed in the process of digestion itself, which is slow and steady.
  • Duration: Though a slow starter, the edible high can last for multiple hours. This is very unlike the inhalation high which hits fast and fades fast. The quickly fading effects of THC when smoked are as a result of all the available THC immediately going into the bloodstream and being synthesized at once, as opposed to the case of edibles where the digestion process slowly releases the cannabinoids into the bloodstream.

How fast and to what extent a certain amount of THC will affect you is dependent on a number of factors. These factors range from body type, metabolism, diet, BMI and diet.

RELATED: What To Do If You Want Your Edibles To Kick In Faster

A trick to remember when consuming edibles is that fatty foods have the ability to improve the digestion of the cannabinoids found in the edibles. You could therefore incorporate some butter into your edible for that killer high.

That said, be careful to watch out for the risks of consuming edibles. Here goes.

marijuana edible
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Risks of Consuming Edibles

Consuming edibles can give you a whole range of pleasant effects. However, they are also likely to cause you some pain. The negative effects of edibles could either be short term or long term. They also range from being very mild to quite serious. Let’s look at these effects in detail:

Short-Term Side Effects:

  • Dry Mouth: Associated with most types of THC high strains, consuming edibles is likely to give you a dry mouth, also known as cottonmouth. 
  • Red, Bloodshot Eyes: Also very common in the consumption of weed, red eyes are the result of THC over dilating the blood vessels that surround the eyes. Sometimes one can even experience dryness of the eyes alongside the redness.
  • The Munchies: This is another cannabis classic. It is however said that the hunger pangs that accompany having edibles is legendary. Though certainly not dangerous, this is an effect worth taking note of.
  • Anxiety/Paranoia: As with consuming high doses of THC, taking too much of an edible can result in you becoming anxious and paranoid. This is also very likely to happen as it is difficult to ascertain the amount of THC a particular edible contains, therefore leading to over consumption.

Contrary to common belief, dehydration does not cause cottonmouth, which is one of the most experienced side effect of THC.

marijuana edibles
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Dehydration Vs. Cottonmouth

Have you ever felt like your mouth is filled with sand after a period of indulgence in marijuana? No, you are not dehydrated.

The symptoms of a dry mouth occur because the THC found in your cannabis binds itself to your salivary glands which stop them from working effectively for a period of time.

RELATED: What Is Cotton Mouth And How To Fix It

This same action of THC is why your eyes become red and dry as the tear glands also stop working as they should. The effect of cannabis is to decrease tear production, which also decreases the rate of blinking. This in turn worsens the reddening of the eyes.

The side effects we have so far discussed are more a nuisance than a real cause for concern. However it is important to note that their intensity is also affected by the amount of edibles consumed and how potent they were. The higher the dose, the more out of synch you will look.

Serious Negative Side Effects

Sometimes, the effects of consuming edibles are not as mild as one would want. Dr Nora Volkow, the director of “the National Institute of Drug Abuse” says that some medical complications are emerging that could be linked to the consumption of marijuana. Though not empirically tested, and also though there might be other factors to consider, consuming an excess of edibles could lead to:

  • Drowsiness.
  • Confusion.
  • Vomiting.
  • Panic attacks and Anxiety.
  • Agitation.
  • Psychotic episodes.
  • Hallucinations.
  • Paranoia.
  • Impaired motor ability.
  • Respiratory depression.
  • Heart problems (irregular heartbeat and sometimes even a heart attack).
edible marijuana
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Do Cannabis Edibles Cause Aggression?

As we have earlier discussed, the delayed onset of the edible high coupled with the uncertainty of how potent it is could lead to serious adverse effects. The effects caused by an overindulgence in edibles and therefore THC could cause one to temporarily lose themselves. This could manifest in blackout periods where the user loses control of their faculties and probably not even recall anything they did. At best, the blackout could be just that, a period of intense, deep slumber.

RELATED: How Many Edibles Should You Eat? Your Guide To Edible Dosing

At worst, high THC inspires violent behavior in some people. There have been cases of one putting themselves or others in harm’s way when under the influence of marijuana. This is particularly true in excessive cases of consuming edibles because the “high” is more intense and lasts for longer, giving one ample opportunity to do more harm.

These effects usually disappear as the high dissipates.

Long-Term Side Effects:

  • Addiction: Marijuana is generally thought not be an addictive substance. However, early studies show that over dependence can become an issue in the marijuana consuming population. It is therefore important that you monitor your consumption and ensure you do not become dependent on it.
  • Mental Issues in Teens: Some studies indicate that that teens and younger adults are likely to suffer far reaching effects from consuming cannabis. This is probably because their brains are developing and the effects of cannabis can interfere with the process of maturation.

How to Mitigate the Side Effects of Edibles

Over indulging in cannabis will cause adverse effects, especially when the edibles are rich in THC. Though often not serious, here are a few tips for what you can do in each case:

Dry mouth: A glass of water you sip on periodically can help you keep your mouth moist. You could also use mouthwash to rinse out your mouth and make it fresh.

Dry Eyes- Nobody likes having bloodshot eyes. The simple solution to this is eye drops. They can both moisturize your eyes and help clear the redness from them.

Anxiety and paranoia- Because anxious and paranoid is a direct effect of high levels of THC. So naturally, if you want to reduce these effects, ensure that your edibles have a low dose of THC. Because you might not be able to measure this in any particular way, take a small piece of the dibble, wait a while and then take a little.

Sedation/Fatigue- Edibles should always be consumed while in the company of friends. This is because their effects can be very unexpected and very intense. If you happen to go overboard they will be there to have your back.

If you drive to a place where you are likely to indulge in edibles, ensure that you have a reliable ride back home.

Also, as you might blackout, ensure that you are consuming the edibles in a comfortable place you would not mind sleeping in.

marijuana edibles
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The Lower the Dose, the Lower the Risk

When trying to determine the best dosage for edibles, it is important to know how commercially manufactured edibles are rated and what might be best for you.

Edibles are usually found in 2.5, 5 and 10 mg concentrations. When starting out, it is advisable to start with the 2,5, then 5 until you get to the point where you fully understand the effect the edible has on you. Ten mg is usually best suited for seasoned users who know what to expect.

RELATED: What Happens If You Try To Sneak Edibles Onto A Plane?

While some people can consume 100 mg in one sitting, do not rush to be that person.

If for some reason you end up indulging too much and find yourself feeling “too high”, do not panic. Follow the steps outlined above and try to ride out the wave.

However, you should make your way to the ER if you experience:

  • Extreme confusion
  • Seizures
  • Chest pain
  • Muscle spasms

If you are feeling “too high” but do not have any of the above symptoms, take a hot shower and lie in a dimly lit room. As we advised earlier, make sure that you are not alone.

Keep your edibles in a safe place!

Because these are treats anyone would want to indulge in, keep your edibles far away, especially if you have children around. This is a scenario where it would be better to be safe than sorry.

Final Thoughts  

Edibles are a very fun way to consume marijuana. Who doesn’t like a sweet treat whose effects are quite literally out of this world?

What is important to note is that the side effects of edibles can be quite undesirable and the best way to keep them at bay is to indulge in moderation.

After all, moderation is the mother of discretion.

This article originally appeared on MyCannabis.com and has been reposted with permission.



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Important Steps If Your Dog Has Marijuana

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Summer is fun, but can be a bit hectic…and one look away and a dog can eat anything – don’t panic, but here are the steps if he gobbles some weed.

Family vacations, car trips, camping, outdoor bbqs…summer is filled with all sorts of great activities. For the 44+% of households who have a dog, it can be a bit of a challenge. Dog are curious, hungry and able to spot a “treat” a hundred miles away.  So don’t panic, but here are the important steps if your dog has marijuana.

Dog sniffs food before they eat it. They are trying to get a good sense of what they are about to consume. If the food is stale or spoiled, they may refuse to eat, or it simply might be because it does not taste/smell good or familiar. It is unlikely a dog will eat flower because of the taste, but edibles, gummies and other things with little smell could be fair game.

brown and black german shepherd lying on gray pet bed

No matter how much marijuana your dog consumes, you should keep an eye on their symptoms and learn what marijuana poisoning looks like. Symptoms can change depending on the size of the dog and the amount of cannabis that was consumed. These can include vomiting, drooling, wobbly movements, barking or howling, lethargy, rapid heart rate and changes in body temperature. While the symptoms seem to be all of ver the place, they reflect how the dog is feeling. Like alcohol, which should never been given to an animal, dogs can’t process why their world is suddenly altered.

“While marijuana is not exactly toxic for dogs, if your dog ate it in the form of an edible, other compounds may cause adverse reactions. Some of the ingredients in edibles, like chocolate or the sugar substitute Xylitol, can be deadly,” says Michael San Filippo, spokesperson for the American Veterinary Medical Association.

If you are concerned your dog has consumed, the best way to ensure that nothing goes wrong is to contact your vet and if needed to him to emergency care. This lets the experienced experts determine a solution. Be honest with your concerns so they determine the course of treatment and save the life of your dog.

RELATED: Fireworks And Pets, Can Marijuana Or CBD Help

While it’s best to consult a doctor, making your dog vomit is kind of simple and could help them get the toxins out of their stomach. When done within 15 minutes of ingestion, this could help prevent toxins from seeping into their bloodstream. “Give one teaspoon of 3% hydrogen peroxide orally per 10 pounds of dog. Your dog should throw up within about 15 minutes,” said Gary Weitzman, president of the San Diego Humane Society.

Another key thing to do is remember a dog is not a human, they can’t reason what is going on, enjoy the journey, chill out and sometimes remember the blue gummy made them sick. No matter the bad experiences, some dogs don’t learn and try to eat something again if it smells ok. Ensure the marijuana and edibles are in a place out of reach, where the elements can’t fall and where the dog won’t be able to find them. All household members should know to keep marijuana out of your pet’s reach.



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The One Mistake Most New Cannabis Cooks Make

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Making edibles are fun and they are great for home, camping, the beach, the outdoors, cozy indoors – well, just about everything. But there is one thing to remember.

Summer is here and a chance to enjoy the great outdoors. Beaches, camping, hikes or long walks, or just sitting on the porch and enjoying nature. It is also a great chance to enjoy homemade edibles.  If you enjoy cooking, there is one thing to remember about cooking with cannabis, and it makes a HUGE difference. It effects not only the taste, but the journey.

RELATED: This Is What You Need To Do To Marijuana Before You Can Make Edibles

To cook with marijuana, you don’t want the plant’s flavor to take over the dish completely.  And you want to monitor the dosage…so you don’t have a 50mg s’more!  You need to take the step even some seasoned cooks and bakers may forget – decarboxylation. It’s still a novel idea in modern cooking when home chefs prepare their own ingredients.

Chemically speaking, decarboxylation removes carbon atoms from a carbon chain. For your purpose, it converts THCA to THC. THC, one of the two most discussed compounds in cannabis, is the main cause of the euphoria or the igh. It exists in raw marijuana and as it dries it converts THCA to THC. Decarboxylation jump-starts the process.Here is how to do it successfully.

How Marijuana's THCV Can Positively Impact Your Life
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You will need ground marijuana (finer is better), a baking sheet/pan and, if you have it, baking parchment. Preheat the oven to 225 degrees Fahrenheit. Cover the pan with a sheet of the parchment. Evenly lay the herb out on the paper. Bake at 225 for 45 minutes.

RELATED: Consuming Cannabis Before Workouts Can Help

As with barbecue, there are hundreds of Vital Secret Rules on how to improve. Two things to consider when modifying this recipe: Higher heat may burn the marijuana and make it less effective and taste worse. Low and slow may be the way to go, but it will release more odor and 75 minutes at 200 degrees might be too much of a time commitment — though that gets great results.  Remember to ventilate the area properly and use a timer. Especially if you’ve already been indulging.

Your cannabis is now ready to be added to butter or made into tinctures or flavored oils. Butter and oils are better than adding marijuana directly into a batter. THC is oil (and alcohol) soluble. So when infused, it gets more of the effect, less of the strong plant flavor.

butter
Photo by ponce_photography via Pixabay

An  issue regarding cooking with cannabis is there is no standard dose. Unlike alcohol, where most adults know what one drink will do to them, it varies for weed. Share with an experience budtender at the dispensary your baking or cooking plans and seek guidance. Take note of the THC percentage as you consider your recipe. More food is better rather than more cannabis.. When cooking, start with a little. Use the 420 Chef’s calculator to gauge how much THC you will be adding to servings. Write this down. After eating make some notes and some suggestions less/more for next time.

RELATED: 5 Ways To Figure Out THC Dosage With Cannabutter

Keep in mind smoking marijuana can have an effect in five minutes and is gone in two hours or less. The body processes edible cannabis differently and it can take an hour or more to have an effect, which can last up to four hours. The potential danger is a newbie can eat, not feel anything in 30 minutes, then eat more.



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Legal Marijuana Expands As Hard Crime Drops

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The claim crime will increase when you legalize weed was a major talking point, but it seems it doesn’t have the data to back it

Over 50% of the country has access to legal marijuana now. Ohio and Delaware will start selling from state licensed dispensaries this year.  Even Florida, the largest nanny state, is voting for full recreational cannabis sales and has 66% public approval.  But what about the claim allowing access to marijuana will increase crime?  Well, data shows legal marijuana expands as hard crime drops.

RELATED: California or New York, Which Has The Biggest Marijuana Mess

Data released in June 2024 from the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) show violent crime from January to March dropped 15.2% compared to the same period in 2023, while murders fell 26.4% and reported rapes decreased by 25.7%. Aggravated assaults decreased during the period when compared to the previous year by 12.5%, according to the data. Robberies fell 17.8% and burglaries by 16.7%. Property crime decreased 15.1%,  while motor vehicle theft decreased by 17.3%. The declines in violent and property crimes were seen in every region of the US.

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This follows a trend from last year with crime dropping in the United States. Which makes the marijuana increase crime an an odd talking point saying how legal marijuana will increase crime, but it has not played out. Both local and national trends show a drop and studies have said cannabis doesn’t increase crime.

“We have consistently seen that more access to legal cannabis not only does not increase crime, but it can reduce it. A study in Colorado showed an additional dispensary in a neighborhood led to a reduction of 17 crimes per month per 10,000 residents, which corresponds to roughly a 19 percent decline relative to the average crime rate over the sample period.” shared Jesse Redmond, Managing Director, Water Tower Research, a leading firm in the cannabis industry.

These numbers do not mean the cannabis industry is clean, do gooders.  California is still struggling with a robust black market hammering the legal one. California has burdened licensed companies with multiple high taxes, fees and almost zero help in reducing the black market. The Golden states weed farmers have been shipping products to New York’s mess despite it being clearly against the law.

RELATED: Was There Marijuana In The Old West

New York also seems to be fostering a white collar crime spree with their failed rollout of recreational marijuana.  The states abrupt changed, at the last minute, the process to license legitimate dispensaries and business in the states has created grief, lawsuits, crushed mom and pop dreams and over 1,500 healthy unlicensed, illicit dispensaries in New York City. The state is still grappling with how to fix the mess, but isn’t having much success.  As of this writing, the state has only managed to provide under 100 licensed stores who are competing with a vast number of competitors who don’t have the same tax burden.

 



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