Image by State of Colorado.
People who make marijuana edibles often advertise them as if they’re just like candy. They sometimes design the edibles to look like candy, too. Even the products’ names (like “jelly bomb”) and fun-sounding flavors are intended to make them sound sweet and harmless.
Whatever the people selling them tell you, though, marijuana edibles are not candy. Not even close.
Easy to overdose
Many people don’t know that it takes longer to feel the effects of marijuana when it’s put in food.
People who are used to the quick high they get from smoking marijuana (which allows the drug to get into their bloodstream quickly via the lungs) may be disappointed with edibles. They have to wait for the drug to be absorbed through their stomach, which can take more than an hour. In the meantime, they may get impatient and eat too much of the edibles.
Then too much THC gets into their body in a short time. An overdose like that can lead to overwhelming dizziness, hallucinations, and stomach sickness—sometimes serious enough to send people to the ER.
Edibles are especially dangerous for young children, who may see them at home and eat them. Hospitals in states where marijuana has been legalized have warned adults not to leave marijuana edibles around where they could tempt children who think they’re regular candy.
Laws on edibles
Colorado, one of the first states to legalize marijuana for use by adults, changed its laws on edibles in 2016:
- The words “candy” or “candies” can’t appear on packages of marijuana or edibles.
- Edibles can’t be shaped like people, animals, fruits, or cartoons.
- Manufacturers must put a THC symbol (see image) not only on each package of edibles, but also on each individual edible sold in Colorado.
Using marijuana in any form is illegal for people under age 21. Adults who use it should learn about the possible health effects of edibles, and help educate young people about the potential health risks.
Learn more: Can you get high from using CBD?