As laws legalizing the sale of marijuana have spread across the country, many people have turned to weed edibles as a popular way to consume it. These marijuana-infused food products come in a wide array of appealing forms, including cookies, candies, and butters that can be used with other foods. Unfortunately, research has shown that it may be easier to overdose on weed edibles than it is to overdose by smoking marijuana.
The Risks Of Overdosing On Weed Edibles
Marijuana contains tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a psychoactive component that binds to specific receptors in the brain and creates mind-altering effects. In recent years, marijuana THC concentrations have gotten higher, increasing the potential for overdose. While there have been no fatal marijuana overdoses recorded, there have been numerous reports of people getting too high, too fast, and needing medical attention.
The potential for overdose from weed edibles can be higher than for smoking marijuana due to several factors. The THC in edibles is metabolized through the digestive tract instead of absorbed through the lungs, changing the way it affects the body. The liver has been shown to convert THC into a more potent form, which can make the high from edibles more intense.
Edibles can also take longer to show effects than smoking. While the high from smoking is nearly instant, edibles can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 3 hours for the effects to begin. This long lead time can result in a user consuming more than they should because they think the edibles are not working.
The amount of THC in weed edibles can be difficult to measure correctly. While many states do not regulate THC levels for edibles, it is commonly understood that a single dose is about 10 milligrams (mg) of THC. Most manufactured edibles can be divided into smaller doses, but because of the way edibles are made, the THC amount of a single dose can be difficult to control. Homemade edibles are even riskier.
The effects of weed edibles can also last much longer than smoking marijuana. The effects tend to reach their peak around 4 hours after consumption and can last for as long as 12 hours. If the person consumes too much, there is really no choice but to wait until the effects subside. Some people have reported having to wait it out for a full day before the effects completely disappeared.
Symptoms Indicating An Overdose On Weed Edibles
The symptoms of an overdose from weed edibles can range from mild to severe and can vary from person to person. The severity of the symptoms can be affected by the amount of THC consumed and a person’s sensitivity to the psychoactive properties of THC. Common symptoms of an overdose include:
- Irregular or rapid heart rate
- Pale skin
- Reduced coordination and impaired motor ability
- Difficulty forming words or following a conversation
- Changes in blood pressure
- Nausea and vomiting
Individuals that consume excessive amounts of THC may also experience the following symptoms:
- Panic attacks and severe anxiety
- Extreme confusion
Two of the most concerning symptoms of overdose are marijuana-induced psychosis (MIP) and cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome (CHS). CHS is generally characterized by severe vomiting and significant abdominal pain that lasts for about 24 hours. The extreme paranoia and mental instability of MIP can be dangerous for the person and everyone around them. Anyone experiencing serious physical side effects should seek medical attention immediately.
An overdose on weed edibles is not usually considered to be life-threatening, but symptoms of an overdose still should not be ignored. Anyone affected should get medical attention if necessary and should not let the reason for the overdose be a barrier to seeking help. Medical professionals are also able to help anyone struggling with an addiction to marijuana find a solution to kick their habit in a safe and compassionate way.
If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction to marijuana, we are here to help. Contact us today at 833-820-2922 with any questions you may have or to request more information. Our trained professional counselors are available 24 hours a day to provide the support you need.