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Drug Alert: Marijuana Edibles

What is it?

Edibles are food products infused with marijuana. Though smoking marijuana is the most prevalent method of consumption, eating marijuana is quickly becoming a popular way to consume the drug.

Brownies are among the most common food products infused with marijuana, however, almost any food product may be infused with marijuana and eaten.

In addition to placing marijuana directly in food, marijuana-infused cooking oil can be used when frying or searing food, and marijuana-infused butter can be spread directly on prepared food.

These marijuana edibles are more common in states that have legalized marijuana and also states that permit medical marijuana use.

Shop window with cannabis products

(Shop window with cannabis products. Photo by nickolette)

Is eating marijuana more dangerous than smoking marijuana? 

YES! There is high potential for overdose from marijuana edibles.

  • The effects from somking marijuana only takes minutes. Edibles, however, take between 1-3 hours because food is absorbed into the bloodstream through the liver. Because it takes longer, the user may end up consuming longer amounts of the drug while thinking the drug isn't working.
  • The amount of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, is very difficult to measure and is often unknown in these food products.  
  • If the user has other medications in his or her system, their body may metabolize different amounts of THC, causing THC levels in the bloodstream to dangerously increase five-fold.
  • Overdose symptoms from eating marijuana are often more severe than symptoms of an overdose from smoking marijuana.

What are the negative effects of marijuana edibles?

  • Psychotic episodes
  • Hallucinations
  • Paranoia
  • Panic attacks
  • Impaired motor ability

Are marijuana edibles frequently used?

Among 12th graders who used marijuana in the past year, 40 percent reported having consumed it in edible form in medical marijuana states, versus 26% in non-medical marijuana states.

(Source: NIDA, 2014 Monitoring the Future Study)

Related articles

Denver coroner: Man fell to death after eating marijuana cookies” Denver Post

Young man leaps to death after eating pot-laced cookie” USA Today

Marijuana Legalization Means More Children Accidentally Consuming Pot Products, Exposure Rose 148% Since 2006IBD Times

Doctors Say E.R. Visits Up Due To Marijuana EdiblesCBS Denver

Denver emergency room doctor seeing more patients for marijuana edibles” CPR.org

Children getting sick from marijuana-laced gummies” Fox Boston

Is Eating Marijuana Really Riskier Than Smoking It?” Forbes

Study: Scant Evidence That Medical Pot Helps Many IllnessesThe Associated Press