By / January 8, 2020

Edible cannabis products present new health risks

Since edible cannabis products can take four hours longer than inhaled cannabis to produce noticeable effects, its ingestion can increase the risk of overuse.

Researchers at the University of Toronto have warned that edible cannabis products “pose new health risks,” as reported in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ). These products have recently been legalized within the country.

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How edible cannabis products differ from smoking dried flower

“Although edibles are commonly viewed as a safer and more desirable alternative to smoked or vaporized cannabis, physicians and the public should be aware of several risks associated with the use of edible cannabis products,” wrote Drs. Jasleen Grewal and Lawrence Loh of the University of Toronto.

Edible cannabis products take an average of four hours longer to produce noticeable effects than inhaled cannabis, which may increase the risk of overuse. With effects that last up to eight hours, edibles can also cause a longer deterioration period compared to inhaled cannabis.

Although Canadian federal regulations have standardized the reports of dosage information, the authors warn that “responses of individuals to different products may vary and an overdose may occur in people who are particularly inexperienced with edible cannabis products.”

Older people are also vulnerable to edible cannabis products

Muffins representing edible cannabis products
Experts advise to practice caution and start with low doses when trying edible cannabis products. (Source)

Regulators think that children and pets are especially at risk since many edible cannabis products look like candy. As such, Canadian regulations also warn that old and young people are also “potentially vulnerable.”

A recent Canadian report found that young people believe that edible cannabis products have positive effects on sleep, mood, and anxiety, which actually goes against the evidence of Canadian regulators.

Keeping edible cannabis products safe

Physicians should routinely question patients who ask about cannabis and the use or possible use of edible cannabis products.

They can advise these patients about the safety of children, the potential for accidental overuse and delayed effects. The author also warned of the “potential for interactions with other substances such as alcohol, benzodiazepines, sleeping pills and opioids.”

“Population-based studies and evaluations of the effects of edible cannabis products will ensure that regulations are better able to protect children, youth, older adults and other age groups from health effects related to cannabis edibles use,” the authors concluded.


(Featured image by Alex Haney via Pixabay)

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