Are Edibles Bad For You? Demystifying the Risks
Whether you’ve tried edibles or not, you’ve likely heard some scary stories in the past. These stories may have led you to wonder whether edibles are bad for you or not – you might wonder if they’re even worth the risk in the first place!
Call us a bit biased, but the truth is that edibles’ negative side effects can be scary, but there are also simple ways to avoid them.
Edibles are not bad, but tokers can use them poorly!
Conversely, they can be used well, providing all the benefits while keeping the risks as low as possible.
Keep on reading to discover what edibles are, the benefits they possess and how to use them properly.
What are Edibles?
When it comes to consuming cannabis, there are plenty of options. Smoking marijuana and vaping cannabis fall on the inhalation side of things.
But, over on the ingestion side, we have cannabis edibles.
Edibles are food and beverages that have been infused with cannabis. And by cannabis, we mean the cannabinoids THC and CBD.
Our conversation today focuses on foods and cannabis drinks with THC because they produce psychoactive effects. In other words, they get you high.
Hemp-derived CBD edibles that have CBD-only (no THC) do not get you high.
The critical distinction between edible cannabis and inhaled cannabis comes down to how our body absorbs them. This difference makes eating cannabis a unique experience with its own benefits, risks, and metabolic factors.
For more information on the differences between smoking and ingesting cannabis, check our guide, “Edibles vs Smoking: Is There a Difference?”
Benefits of Edibles
Edibles take longer to produce effects, but these effects last for longer.
Unlike smoking that produces effects within minutes, you may have to wait up to an hour to start feeling these tasty goods. However, this patience pays off, as you get all the benefits that follow!
How Long for Edibles to Kick in – What You Need to Know
Edibles produce long-lasting effects, outlasting smoking and vaping. One dosing of edibles can make for a great day, having effects that last up to 8 hours. No more going outside every few hours to smoke or vape!
Additionally, medical cannabis patients benefit significantly from these tasty treats since they can provide lasting relief in their symptom management and are also easier to dose.
Unlike conventional consumption methods, edibles tell you exactly how much or how little THC or CBD you’re consuming. This crucial bit of information could mean the difference between a relaxing experience and a green out!
What’s more, you can discreetly enjoy your treat just about anywhere—no worrying about where you can smoke. They look just like your regular sweets and can be taken whenever you need them.
Not having to smoke or vape is another benefit that can help the health of our throat and lungs.
Speaking of lungs, the fact that we don’t use them for edibles gets us back to this critical distinction. Let’s see what happens inside our bodies with ingested cannabis.
What Happens to Your Body When you Eat Marijuana Edibles?
When you eat marijuana edibles, you are sending THC compounds on a journey through your digestive tract. This is vastly different from smoking marijuana – where THC goes from our lungs into our bloodstreams and reaches our endocannabinoid systems (ECS).
With edibles, the ingested THC moves through our stomach and gets absorbed in our intestines. It is here that the compounds move through the digestive tract lining and into the bloodstream.
How Long Do Edibles Last? – A Guide To Dosing
In both smoking and ingested cannabis, the THC compounds reach their destination in our brain to get us high.
That being said, there is one big difference in these THC compounds due to their different routes of absorption.
With smoking, it’s regular THC compounds that enter into our system. When ingesting edibles, we get an entirely different metabolite known as 11-hydroxy-THC. This metabolite of THC (or by-product of THC) is created when our liver processes THC.
What is so special about 11-hydroxy-THC?
Unlike regular THC, 11-Hydroxy-THC is able to surpass the blood-brain barrier much more effectively.
In other words, it’s more effective at connecting with our ECS to produce psychoactive effects. This means that edibles aren’t just able to get us higher, but they’re able to get us higher for a longer duration of time.
However, it is this combination of effects that produces the benefits of edibles but also the risks!
Are Edibles Bad for You?
Cannabis edibles are not bad for you! When dosed and used appropriately, edibles are an accurate, discreet and accessible way to consume cannabis, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t come with risks – especially when they’re used improperly.
First, edibles themselves are roughly nutritiously equivalent to non-infused candies and gummies. So, edibles are no more bad for your diet than other treats and goodies.
Second, the actual THC inside of the edibles is what we need to pay extra close attention to. It is the presence of THC that carries risks to people, but these risks are mild to moderate in most cases and only occur when proper dosing procedures aren’t followed.
Let’s look at these risks below and learn together how to reduce them.
Risks of Improper Dosing
Cannabis edibles, like other THC products, carry some adverse side effects and risks if they’re consumed improperly. If respect isn’t given to an edible’s dosage or potency, users can risk experiencing a green out.
In other words, you can get so high that you’ll feel extremely anxious, fatigued and nervous.
Some users can also become immobilized by the intensity of the high. It can also involve other side effects like nausea, paranoia and other distressing symptoms.
Unlike smoking and vaping, which have a quicker onset of effects, edibles can take some time to actually kick in. Depending on your cannabis tolerance, your body’s physiology and how much you’ve eaten that day, it can take anywhere from 30 minutes up to four hours before you start to feel the effects.
During this time, it’s easy to be impatient and consume a second or even a third dose. This impatience is what leads to a negative experience with edibles.
However, it’s important to note there are no permanent risks that occur from a large dosage.
The side effects are temporary and will go away. No matter how worried you are when high on edibles, just remember you’ll be fine. If you stay as relaxed as possible, you’ll get through any bumpy parts of your high.
Plenty of us have been there before, and we all made it through. Use friends to help remind you of this when going through an edible trip. Having experienced edible consumers around is a valuable learning opportunity for those new to edibles.
For more tips on how to sober up from weed, be sure to check out our helpful guide.
How to Reduce Your Risk
Ensuring you have a positive experience with edibles is simple – just remember to start low and go slow.
The first few times you do edibles, you come with an incredibly low cannabis tolerance. So it’s paramount to start with a low dose. It’s better to feel almost nothing than to feel overwhelmed.
Start with a low dose of 1 to 2.5mg to see how long the effects take to kick in before upping your dosage. Keep on increasing your dosage until you’re at a comfortable and manageable level.
Until you are completely comfortable with a certain dosage, you should never double-dose your edibles. This can lead to unpredictable onset times and lead to an even worse experience later on.
With edibles, it’s incredibly easy to literally bite off more than you can chew but like all good things in life, edibles are best enjoyed in moderation.
Are Edibles Bad For You? Responsibility Matters
Edibles are not bad for you when enjoyed responsibly.
The most important thing when doing edibles is to start low and go slow. This easy but helpful strategy will save you lots of trouble and ensure that you experience the best high ever.
If you are still not sure about trying edibles or eating them again and in need of more information, we got you covered. Below you will find more helpful guides for you to get started on edibles.