Cannabis edibles are anything that can be eaten that contains cannabis or marijuana. They include brownies, cakes, gummies, chocolate bars, and more. So long the snack or food has been infused with cannabis, it becomes known as a cannabis edible. Cannabis edibles are a convenient way to enjoy cannabis, without smoking it, which is the most common way of consuming cannabis. Cannabis edibles still produce the same psychoactive effect and euphoric feeling, popularly referred to as ‘high’, that one would get from smoking or vaping cannabis.
Today, we would be looking at some of the health effects of eating cannabis edibles but before then, let us briefly understand how cannabis works in the body.
How Does Cannabis Work
Cannabis contains more than 100 active compounds referred to as cannabinoids. Of all of them, two are very popular; CBD or cannabidiol, which produces a calm feeling, and THC or tetrahydrocannabinol, which produces the high in cannabis. When cannabis is consumed, in any form, the effect of these two cannabinoids is felt more. In the body, we find the ECS on the endocannabinoid system which is a network of receptors. When cannabis is consumed, the cannabinoids bind with the receptors in the ECS, resulting in noticeable changes in one’s mood, behaviour, or actions. Since CBD and THC are very dominant, their effects are felt the most, although the extent depends on how much CBD or THC was present.
When cannabis is smoked or vaped, the effect is felt within minutes. One can begin to feel the effect just after 5 minutes of smoking. But one would have to wait for an hour or more to feel the effect after eating a cannabis edible. This is because the THC converts to 11-Hydroxy-THC, which is a more potent form. Another thing different about eating cannabis edibles is how long the high lasts. Unlike smoking cannabis which has a high that lasts for 4 – 6 hours, cannabis edibles produce a high that peaks up 12 hours or even more in some cases.
Now that we have an understanding of how cannabis works, let us now review some of the health effects of eating cannabis edibles.
Health Effects of Cannabis Edibles
Unlike inhaled cannabis, cannabis edibles are ingested and must be digested first before being absorbed. This delay can lead to a user accidentally consuming because they might not feel the intended effects immediately. That’s when it can be harmful.
1. It Relieves Pain
Cannabis has pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties which are present in CBD. When one eats a cannabis edible, it helps relieve pains in the body. Cannabis is effective against joint pains, arthritis, headache, back pain, and so on. So, eating a cannabis edible would provide you relief from such pains.
2. It Curbs Insomnia
Eating cannabis edibles deals with insomnia as it makes it easier for the person to fall asleep. People who suffer from insomnia can use cannabis edibles to find sleep.
3. It Increases Appetite
Another effect of eating cannabis edibles is that it increases one’s appetite. The body metabolises food faster when there is cannabis in the system so one would feel hungry when they are high from eating an edible. This can be very helpful to treat people with appetite loss.
4. It Relieves Anxiety and Depression
Eating cannabis edibles also affects one’s mood, making one feel better and relieving symptoms of anxiety and depression. THC causes feelings of euphoria which would help improve the person’s mood.
5. It Affects the Heart
Cannabis has been said to affect heart and the cardiovascular system. It can cause an increase in heart rate and blood pressure.
Medical research has stated a higher risk of heart attack following the use of cannabis.
While it may not be possible to overdose on cannabis, consuming large quantities of cannabis edibles could result in paranoia, nausea, dry mouth, hallucination, and impaired mobility. Most times, people consume large amounts of cannabis edible because they are yet to feel the effect of the first bite they had taken. That is why it is important to keep in mind that cannabis edibles take up to 2 hours before the effect can be felt in the body.