Is Eating Weed Bad For You? Edibles Can Be Riskier Than Smoking Marijuana Depending On Your Intake

Getting high is easier than ever. Signing up for a medical marijuana card has never been that difficult, and more and more states these days are legalizing recreational use. (FYI, the federal government has yet to lift its marijuana ban, but legalization has largely become a states' rights issue.) While smoking joints and lighting bowls have long been the means of choice, edibles are having a Renaissance in popularity. Baked goods or candy made with THC — the crystals on the marijuana plant that are what give you the happy feelings — are generally more discreet, and for those who don't like to inhale smoke, they let you consume marijuana without the burn. But is eating weed bad for you?

Now, there have been a few reports of scary incidents that appear to suggest edibles can be dangerous. In March 2014, a Wyoming college student killed himself after eating more than the recommended dose of a marijuana cookie. A Colorado man charged with killing his wife last August claimed he hallucinated after eating pot brownies. The family of an Oklahoma man who shot and killed himself while on vacation two months ago blamed his death on weed-laced candy.

But there isn't enough research to definitively say edible marijuana directly caused those incidents. In fact, there is no outright scientific proof that says eating weed is worse than smoking it, according to researchers. What makes edibles trickier though is how the difference in intake can affect your high.

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Your body metabolizes THC differently when you eat or smoke marijuana. When you smoke weed, you can easily monitor your intake because the THC will go into your bloodstream quickly and you'll more or less feel high within minutes. Edibles' effects might take a while to hit you — you might not feel anything for up to three hours — and before you know it, you ate the whole brownie or chocolate bar, which usually isn't a very good idea. Here's what Kari Franson, a clinical pharmacologist and associate dean at the University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy, had to say about eating versus smoking to Forbes:

With smoking, the peak blood levels happen within three to 10 minutes, and with eating, it’s one to three hours. Note that both are about a three-fold difference, but most users are willing to wait 10 minutes, not three hours before re-using.

With edibles, it's harder to tell what concentration of THC is in each bite. Most people are used to eating an entire cookie, or a few for that matter, but one bite of a weed cookie might be all you need to get high. So far, there's little regulation on how edibles are made so it's hard to tell how accurate the concentration numbers are on the label.

There are debates on whether the human body can actually overdose on marijuana, but you can definitely put yourself in a situation where you consumed more weed than you should have. Because it's harder to manage your intake when it comes to edibles, there could be an increased chance of overdoing it. You could face anxiety, panic attacks, confusion, disorientation, hallucinations, and depersonalization (extreme self-consciousness).


So what's the final verdict? Is eating weed bad for you? I'm not endorsing it, but if you choose to go the edible route, read the label. Ask for dosage recommendations. Take small bites at a time and be patient. Know that it could be a while before you feel anything at all. Education is key, and you should always do your research before you try something new.

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