What is THC?
Cannabis contains multiple chemicals with THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol) as the most well-known. THC causes the mind altering effects associated with cannabis use. CBD counteracts some of these psychoactive effects and has potential therapeutic effects. To lower the risk of harms associated with THC, it is best to look for a strain that has a high CBD to THC ratio.
What is an Edible?
Rather than smoking cannabis, people have been extracting THC and CBD from cannabis and infusing food and drink for decades. Edibles come in a variety of products such as brownies, gummies, candy, tea, alcoholic drinks, pop, chips, and popcorn to name a few.
But is it Legal?
As of October 2018, edibles will not be legal to be sold alongside other cannabis products. The federal government wants to take another year to regulate edible sales, but you can make edibles at home from the concentrates or dried herb that are legal to purchase. The use of organic solvents (alcohols, benzene, etc.) for extraction purposes is not allowed under provincial or federal laws.
Making edibles at home can be difficult. Incorrect dosing and extracting can lead to adverse effects. If you are making edibles, avoid these seven common mistakes for safer edibles.
Effects of Edibles
Edibles provide different effects to the user than smoking. Some of the differences are the following.
- Quick onset, within seconds
- Short term effects, 1-3 hours
- Delayed onset, 15 minutes to 2 hours
- Longer effects, 4-6 hours (can be up to 24 hours of a large amount is ingested)
Increased heat rate and blood pressureSince edible cannabis take a while to take effect, some people become impatient and take more before the first ingestion has hit its peak. This can cause overconsumption of cannabis leading to more extreme effects and reactions. The symptoms of cannabis overconsumption are varied and can be scary:
- Increased breathing rate
- Nausea and vomiting
- Anxiety or paranoia
- In extreme cases, psychosis
Bad Tripping: What to Do
If you or someone you know has taken too much cannabis or is feeling adverse effects there tips can help to calm the high.
- Find a safe place and sit down
- Remember the effects are temporary
- Talk to someone you trust to stay grounded
- Try to relax and prevent anxiety
- Have a drink of water and a snack
- Take a bath or shower to calm any anxiety you may feel
- Rest because time is the best cure of the symptoms
- Call poison control if you need more assistance or these tips don’t help
As of 2017, no one has overdosed solely from cannabis. If you do feel in danger of your symptoms are severe seek medical attention from poison control or the emergency room.
There is currently a lack of publicly available information on harm reduction around edible use, especially from recognized health institutions so the following references were used for this article.
Karstens-Smith, Gemma. From marijuana beer to pot cookies, Canadian companies creating cannabis edibles. CBC News British Columbia. June 17, 2018. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/from-marijuana-beer-to-pot-cookies-canadian-companies-creating-cannabis-edibles-1.4710308
Rough, Lisa. 8 Ways to Counteract a Too-Intense Cannabis High. Leafly. 2017. https://www.leafly.com/news/cannabis-101/8-ways-to-counteract-a-too-intense-cannabis-high