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A handful of cannabis-infused gummy bears in various colors next to a marijuana leaf.

Are THC Edibles Harmful?

THC edibles are often sweet food products or treats (e.g., cookies, brownies, gummies, chews, beverages, drink mixes, or cooking oils) that contain cannabis and the psychoactive component of marijuana.

Edibles can be homemade or prepared commercially for dispensaries.

While these products may taste sweet and harmless and cause temporary euphoria, they can lead to a serious cannabis use disorder.

What Is THC?

Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is the psychoactive part of the cannabis plant. It is a naturally occurring compound that makes people feel euphoric when consumed and is why many individuals try marijuana products.

Unfortunately, THC also impairs your senses and judgment, making it more difficult to focus, learn, and remember things.

Consuming marijuana products containing THC, especially during your teenage years, may cause permanent changes in the brain. These changes can negatively impact alertness, learning, memory, and IQ test scores.

Are Edibles Dangerous?

THC edibles stimulate neurons in the brain and artificially increase dopamine levels. Dopamine is one of the most important neurotransmitters that regulate reward, motivation, and self-control. Over time, these changes in brain activity patterns can shift and activate (or recruit) other nearby regions associated with habits and routines.

However, many people who consume edibles are unaware of the dangers associated with their use.

Known Health Risks of Consuming THC Edibles

The effects of marijuana edibles can last several hours, depending on factors such as

  • the potency of THC consumed (often unknown),
  • the amount of THC consumed,
  • the amount and type of food consumed,
  • and the presence of additional drugs or alcohol.

Unlike smoking marijuana, where the effects are noticeable within minutes, it can take 30 minutes to 2 hours to experience noticeable effects from edibles. This delayed onset increases the risk of unintentionally consuming greater than intended doses of the drug, leading to marijuana overdose (i.e., marijuana intoxication).

Symptoms of a marijuana overdose can be severe and often require emergency medical treatment, especially when combined with alcohol.

According to Medical News Today, combining alcohol and marijuana edibles results in a stronger effect because alcohol dilates the blood vessels in the digestive tract, allowing THC to be absorbed into the bloodstream more quickly.

Adverse side effects of marijuana overuse

Overusing marijuana, regardless of the consumption method, can result in adverse side effects such as

  • Agitation
  • Anxiety and panic attacks
  • Confusion
  • Drowsiness
  • Hallucinations
  • Impaired motor ability
  • Irregular heartbeat or heart attack
  • Paranoia
  • Respiratory depression
  • Self-harm
  • Violence
  • Vomiting

Are Edibles Dangerous? Yes. But We Can Help.

Regardless of how marijuana is consumed, whether smoking or eating, it can easily lead to severe and dangerous addiction.

However, you can overcome a cannabis use disorder with skilled specialists at Alpine Recovery Lodge. We offer safe and effective treatment for marijuana addiction, employing a combination of behavioral interventions, motivational incentives, and cognitive-behavioral therapies to help you regain a healthy and sober life.

Our comprehensive approach addresses the specific challenges associated with marijuana addiction, allowing you to overcome the dependency and return to enjoying your life, free from the adverse effects of excessive marijuana use.