Edible Marijuana: What We Need To Know


Published:

Marijuana-infused foods – often called edibles – are becoming more and more popular in states such as Colorado, where recreational marijuana is sold.

In the first quarter of 2014, the first year recreational sales were allowed in Colorado, edibles made up 30 percent of legal sales. By the third quarter of 2016, that grew to 45 percent.

Edibles come in a variety of forms, from candy and baked goods, to trail mix and even coffee or soda.

As a social and behavioral scientist who studies the prevention of adolescent substance initiation and misuse, the legalization of recreational marijuana has been on my mind a lot lately. The younger people are when they start using substances, the greater the risk for developing subsequent neurocognitive, mental health and further substance-related problems.

Marijuana-infused edibles raise a lot of concerns. Young children may accidentally eat edibles meant to look like candy or other foods, and adolescents may not think edibles are as risky as smoking marijuana.

Concerns About Edibles

Edibles are manufactured with varying levels of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active ingredient in marijuana. They can take the form of almost any type of food, most notably candy and baked goods.

When products are shaped like candy, there is a concern that children will accidentally ingest them. They may mistake these marijuana-infused products for regular food, as they may not be able to read the labels and markings indicating that the products contain THC, or may not understand what the labels actually mean.

A recent retrospective study examined unintentional exposure to marijuana among children who were treated at a children’s hospital and regional poison center in Colorado between 2009 and 2015, the year after it became legal for recreational marijuana to be sold in the state.

Findings indicated a five-fold increase in the number of children under 10 who were exposed to marijuana, from nine cases in 2009 to 47 cases in 2015. The poison center saw an average increase of 34 percent, while there was an average increase of 19 percent for the rest of the country.

Edibles were implicated in over half of the exposures, which included baked goods, candy, and popcorn products.

Teens may accidentally ingest edibles as well. In these cases, though, the concern is that teens may give edibles to their peers without telling them what is in the product.

Risk Perception Of Edibles Is Lower

In 2015, only 12.3 percent of high school seniors believed that trying marijuana once or twice was harmful (down from 18.5 percent in 2009). Less than one in three believed smoking marijuana regularly to be harmful, down from 52.4 percent in 2009.

My professional opinion is that marijuana-infused edibles will continue to push down this trend in perceived risk among adolescents, as edibles may appear much less risky than smokable forms. In other words, it is a much shorter leap from not using marijuana at all to eating an edible product to get high, compared to the leap between no use and smoking the drug for the first time through a joint or a bong.

Additionally, edibles make it significantly easier for those who are underage to use marijuana covertly, which may make it more appealing. This could potentially increase frequency of use.

The risk of getting caught using marijuana at home or at school may be lower if an adolescent is eating a cookie or candy infused with THC than smoking the drug. That could make this mode of use appealing for teens who may otherwise abstain out of the fear of repercussions associated with “smelling like pot”.

Recent qualitative research found that some teens did use edibles in school specifically for this reason. Moreover, some of the females reported that they found edibles appealing because using the drug in this manner made them less likely to appear in public as a “marijuana user”.

How Much THC Is In That Cookie?

Dosing is another concern. Colorado and Washington state have set a limit of 10 milligrams per individual serving, while Oregon and Alaska set a limit of five milligrams for an individual serving. In theory, regulations surrounding dosing in specific milligram increments would be helpful in allowing consumers to self-regulate how much they ingest.

The size of the dose is one issue, but how it is administered is another. If a drug is inhaled, it is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream and then goes to the brain. This is the fastest way of administering a drug.

The slowest mode of administration is ingestion, such as through pills or food. The drug enters the bloodstream through the lining of the stomach and small intestine, and then has to travel to the brain. This means it can take about 30-60 minutes to feel the effects. Eating a product with a drug in it may take even longer, because the body has to digest it as food first before the substance gets into the lining of the stomach.

A person who is not aware of this delay might eat more after not initially feeling the effects, thinking that the drug will take effect faster, not recognizing the potential harms associated with the increased dosage.

There are also different types of marijuana, specifically sativa and indica. Sativa has a more stimulating, energetic effect, whereas indica has more of a psychoactive and sedating effect. There are also hybrids of the two, if users are interested in a combination of the different effects.

However, research on marijuana has been limited, so not much has been examined with the different types and different strains, especially among adolescents, making it a challenge to understand the full picture.

Policies Regarding Edibles

Like all marijuana, cannabis-infused edibles are not regulated by the FDA. At the moment, polices and regulations about edibles are being drafted by states that are voting to legalize recreational marijuana.

The states with the longest history of legalized recreational marijuana, Colorado and Washington, have the most extensive policies surrounding edibles. As problems associated with the recreational use of marijuana have surfaced, these policies have – and continue to – change.

For example, in response to the increased number of children being admitted to hospitals as a result of ingesting edible marijuana, Colorado enacted a policy in October 2016 requiring that a universal symbol be put on all edible marijuana products to make it clear that they contain THC. In addition, the word “candy” is not allowed on edible marijuana packaging, and manufacturing edibles in shapes that are appealing to children (such as gummy bears) also are banned.

Washington has strict and extensive policies around edibles, including explicit language that needs to be put on labels and packaging. The state also bans images on packaging that would appeal to young children, such as cartoons and toys, as well as edible candy that would be most appealing to young people, such as gummy bears and jelly beans.

California, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada all voted to legalize recreational marijuana in the 2016 election.

California’s Prop. 64, the ballot proposition for recreational marijuana restricts edibles with a 10 milligram portion size requirement, and additional requirements that packaging be childproof and, as with other states, not to appeal to children.

Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada are drafting legislation to regulate recreational sales of marijuana, including edibles.

Where Do We Go From Here?

As a professional in this field, I understand the desire to offer multiple routes of administration of marijuana, particularly for those who are using it for medical reasons.

However, I believe that edible marijuana, especially in forms that are appealing to young people, is extremely problematic.

Adolescent substance misuse prevention professionals have their work cut out for them, as prevention efforts will have to specifically target marijuana edibles moving forward. Additionally, it is up to policymakers to do everything in their power to make it harder for those who are under 21 to acquire and also consume edible marijuana. This will require a lot of time preparing before the policies go into effect.

Dr. Margie Skeer is an assistant professor of public health and community medicine at Tufts University. Her current research focuses on substance misuse and sexual risk prevention, both from an epidemiologic and intervention-development perspective.

This article was republished from The Conversation.

See also:
Confirming Big Pharma Fears, Study Suggests Medical Marijuana Laws Decrease Opioid Use
Legalized Marijuana Will Reduce Prescription Drug Use By Billions

Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

Daily Astrology

October 20, 2017

A trio of planets in early Scorpio, comprised of Jupiter, Mercury and the Moon, fans flames of hope today. The intrepid threesome is nicely aligned with mystical Neptune. Spiritual, as well as altruistic and artistic leanings are brilliantly served…
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Alternative Health Directory

Browse all listings »

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Calendar

October 2017

Learn Reiki — revitalizing self-care and healing in the palm of your hands. Facilitated by Lou Orsan, Reiki Shihan (master teacher.) This one-day class covers the...

Cost: $125

Where:
Northeast Reiki Center
61 Nicholas Road
Framingham, MA  01701
View map »


Sponsor: Northeast Reiki Center
Telephone: 508-808-5696
Contact Name: Lou Orsan
Website »

More information

With Barbara Blanchard Headaches are a common clinical condition that can benefit from acupuncture and acupressure treatment. This workshop will study the different types of headaches as defined...

Cost: $125 students, $175 professionals

Where:
Roots and Wings Yoga and Healing Arts
317 North Main Street
Natick, MA  01760
View map »


Sponsor: Eastern Medicinal Therapies Education Center
Telephone: 617-435-3586
Contact Name: Lauren Paap
Website »

More information

January 14 - December 9, 2017 With Tom Frederick Novice — This 12-month program is designed to assist you on your journey to spiritual enlightenment. Here we study a variety of esoteric...

Cost: $1300

Where:
Women of Wisdom
118 Washington Street
North Easton, MA  02356
View map »


Sponsor: Women of Wisdom
Telephone: 508-230-3680
Contact Name: Women of Wisdom
Website »

More information

All-day retreat, including meal, movement, morning and afternoon experiential sessions. Limited spots, pre-registration required. Email Kyle@PortalCrystalGallery.com or visit...

Where:
Portal Crystal Gallery
489 Mass Ave.
Arlington, MA
View map »


Sponsor: Crystal Concentrics
Contact Name: Kyle Russell
Website »

More information

Guided loving kindness meditation every Sunday at HeartSong Spiritual Wellness. No charge to attend. Donations are appreciated to help support this non-profit wellness center. Read more:...

Cost: Free

Where:
HeartSong Spiritual Wellness
23 Pine Street
Milford, MA  01757
View map »


Sponsor: HeartSong
Contact Name: Jacki Rose
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

January 14 - December 9, 2017 With Tom Frederick Novice — This 12-month program is designed to assist you on your journey to spiritual enlightenment. Here we study a variety of esoteric...

Cost: $1300

Where:
Women of Wisdom
118 Washington Street
North Easton, MA  02356
View map »


Sponsor: Women of Wisdom
Telephone: 508-230-3680
Contact Name: Women of Wisdom
Website »

More information

The Daoist Benevolent Association offers free classes on traditional Wudang style tai chi. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Brown School
42 Milk St Newburyport
Newburyport, MA  01950
View map »


Sponsor: Daoist Benevolent Association
Telephone: 978-462-4617
Contact Name: Barbara
Website »

More information

Nancy's therapeutic and healing nature stems from her own personal journey through health struggles. Her style is open to everyone, no matter physical or mental challenges, or age....

Cost: $15 drop in or $12 with 10 class bundle

Where:
HeartSong Spiritual Wellness
23 Pine Street
Milford, MA  01757
View map »


Sponsor: HeartSong Spiritual Wellness Center
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

January 14 - December 9, 2017 With Tom Frederick Novice — This 12-month program is designed to assist you on your journey to spiritual enlightenment. Here we study a variety of esoteric...

Cost: $1300

Where:
Women of Wisdom
118 Washington Street
North Easton, MA  02356
View map »


Sponsor: Women of Wisdom
Telephone: 508-230-3680
Contact Name: Women of Wisdom
Website »

More information

Come join Mary Budrose on October 17, November 14, December 14, from 7-8pm to learn more about the The Budrose Center For Spiritual Growth healing program and experience a chakra balancing...

Where:
Budrose Center for Spiritual Growth (Blossom Healings)
54 Main Street
Topsfield, MA  01983
View map »


Telephone: 978-561-1687
Contact Name: Mary Budrose
Website »

More information

The Daoist Benevolent Association offers free classes on traditional Wudang style tai chi. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Brown School
42 Milk St Newburyport
Newburyport, MA  01950
View map »


Sponsor: Daoist Benevolent Association
Telephone: 978-462-4617
Contact Name: Barbara
Website »

More information

One-of-a-kind, life changing holistic health education program again being offered free of charge Local business owner shares groundbreaking mind-body-spirit course to combat obesity epidemic...

Cost: Free

Where:
Wilbraham Senior Center
45 Post Office Park
#4502
Wilbraham, MA  01095
View map »


Sponsor: Harmony Way
Telephone: 413-636-2475
Contact Name: Michelle Caron
Website »

More information

Beginner Kripalu Yoga with Lisa Davidson Brand new to yoga or returning after a break, this class is kind and challenging for your body, relaxing and destressing for your mind, and will help you...

Cost: $113 for 7 weeks

Where:
A Yoga Leaf
@ Whimsy
686 Worcester Rd.
Framingham, MA  01702
View map »


Sponsor: Lisa Davidson
Contact Name: Lisa Davidson
Website »

More information

A unique divine healing meditation, lead by Bhavna, to help you in your life; with your relationships, money, work and family. Also, the meditation helps with letting go to release...

Cost: $10

Where:
Bhavna’s Wellness Group
512 Main St.
Penthouse Suite
Shrewsbury, MA  01545
View map »


Sponsor: Bhavna’s Wellness Group
Telephone: 508-970-5620
Contact Name: Krista Bennett
Website »

More information

Daoist Priest Zhou Xuanyun teaches traditional Wudang style kung fu.

Cost: $110/month

Where:
Boston Ultimate Fitness
72 Beach Street (4th Floor)
Boston, MA  02111
View map »


Sponsor: Daoist Gate Wudang Arts
Telephone: 508-245-8305
Contact Name: Zhou Xuanyun
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

January 14 - December 9, 2017 With Tom Frederick Novice — This 12-month program is designed to assist you on your journey to spiritual enlightenment. Here we study a variety of esoteric...

Cost: $1300

Where:
Women of Wisdom
118 Washington Street
North Easton, MA  02356
View map »


Sponsor: Women of Wisdom
Telephone: 508-230-3680
Contact Name: Women of Wisdom
Website »

More information

Christopher Penczak discusses how you can call upon Michael for aid in your own life and to help the planet. Explore the lore and magick of this beloved figure who crosses many cultures and...

Cost: $35

Where:
Circles of Wisdom
90 Main Street
Andover, MA  01810
View map »


Telephone: 978-474-8010
Website »

More information

October 18 - 20, 2017  With Renée Starr Ladies, reclaim your sacredness, awaken your devotion, and become the magic you seek. Details at www.goddesspriestesswitch.com. ...

Where:
ZuZu's Healing Arts
122 West Emerson
Melrose, MA  02176
View map »


Telephone: 781-665-8844
Website »

More information

This gentle yoga class is good for all skill levels. Scheduled perfectly in the middle of your week; the movements will be a welcome respite to your usual morning routine.

Cost: $10

Where:
Bhavna’s Wellness Group
512 Main St.
Penthouse Suite
Shrewsbury, MA  01545
View map »


Sponsor: Bhavna’s Wellness Group
Telephone: 508-970-5620
Contact Name: Krista Bennett
Website »

More information

Weekly yoga classes with Rev. Michelle Caron, RMT, CYT, ZIN of Harmony Way on Wednesdays at 12:15 PM and Fridays at 9:30 AM at the Wilbraham Senior Center. Class welcomes all ages and uses a...

Cost: $5

Where:
Wilbraham Senior Center
45 Post Office Park, #4502
Wilbraham, MA  01095
View map »


Sponsor: Harmony Way
Telephone: 413-636-2475
Contact Name: Rev. Michelle Caron, RMT, CYT, ZIN
Website »

More information

With Lisa Rockenmacher and Kristan Bishop Looking for a deeper connection with bliss? Seeking practical ways to increase wellness and health in all aspect of your life? Do you desire a...

Cost: $100

Where:
YogaLife Institute of NH
6 Chestnut Street
Lower Level
Exeter, NH  03833
View map »


Sponsor: YogaLife Institute of NH
Telephone: 603-969-8968
Contact Name: Brian Serven
Website »

More information

Are you ready to embrace more self-compassion and nurturing into your life? Take the plunge now! This 6 week group will weave yoga, creative arts, meditation, journaling and...

Cost: $180

Where:
Integrated Psychotherapy
31 Hastings Street
Mendon, MA  01756
View map »


Telephone: 508-335-6732
Contact Name: Sherri Snyder, MA, LMHC
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

January 14 - December 9, 2017 With Tom Frederick Novice — This 12-month program is designed to assist you on your journey to spiritual enlightenment. Here we study a variety of esoteric...

Cost: $1300

Where:
Women of Wisdom
118 Washington Street
North Easton, MA  02356
View map »


Sponsor: Women of Wisdom
Telephone: 508-230-3680
Contact Name: Women of Wisdom
Website »

More information

​One Night Only in Portland! Enlightened Spiritual Teacher Dave Oshana! Experience the transformational miracles of the enlightenment transmission. Enjoy the freedom to be your true self!...

Cost: Free, donations accepted.

Where:
Z Dance Club
1844 Forest Avenue
Portland, ME  04103
View map »


Sponsor: Enlightenment Transmission Foundation
Telephone: 207-443-7001
Contact Name: Maryanna Bock
Website »

More information

What are smudge fans, and what are they used for? Smudging is probably best known as a Native American ritual, although smudging has been used since ancient times by many people as a ceremony of...

Cost: $25

Where:
YOUnity Yoga & Wellness
189 Main Street
4th floor
Milford, MA  01757
View map »


Sponsor: YOUnity Yoga & Wellness
Telephone: 508-478-3333
Contact Name: Barbara Hickson
Website »

More information

In this 220-hour, one-year program with lead trainer Hari Kaur, you will become an instructor and learn the fundamental principles and practices of Kundalini Yoga.

Where:
Yoga At The Ashram
368 Village Street
Millis, MA
View map »


Telephone: 508-376-4525
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

January 14 - December 9, 2017 With Tom Frederick Novice — This 12-month program is designed to assist you on your journey to spiritual enlightenment. Here we study a variety of esoteric...

Cost: $1300

Where:
Women of Wisdom
118 Washington Street
North Easton, MA  02356
View map »


Sponsor: Women of Wisdom
Telephone: 508-230-3680
Contact Name: Women of Wisdom
Website »

More information

People get ready! We are going to stir it up! One time only! Join Chuck Raffoni (Relax and Recharge with Chuck) for a night of Broga® Yoga, Bob Marley and Brews at Western Ave. Studios in...

Cost: $25

Where:
Western Ave Studios
122 Western Ave
Lowell, MA  01851
View map »


Sponsor: Relax and Recharge with Chuck
Contact Name: Chuck
Website »

More information

Certification in Core Energetics with directors Karyne Wilner, PsyD and Charles Corley, Med. For heart-centered psychotherapists and body-mind healers. Training begins October 20.

Where:
Middletown, RI


Telephone: 401-316-7401
Website »

More information

Weekly yoga classes with Rev. Michelle Caron, RMT, CYT, ZIN of Harmony Way on Wednesdays at 12:15 PM and Fridays at 9:30 AM at the Wilbraham Senior Center. Class welcomes all ages and uses a...

Cost: $5

Where:
Wilbraham Senior Center
45 Post Office Park, #4502
Wilbraham, MA  01095
View map »


Sponsor: Harmony Way
Telephone: 413-636-2475
Contact Name: Rev. Michelle Caron, RMT, CYT, ZIN
Website »

More information

Daoist Priest Zhou Xuanyun teaches traditional Wudang style kung fu.

Cost: $110/month

Where:
Boston Ultimate Fitness
72 Beach Street (4th Floor)
Boston, MA  02111
View map »


Sponsor: Daoist Gate Wudang Arts
Telephone: 508-245-8305
Contact Name: Zhou Xuanyun
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

October 21 - 22, 2017 A two-day training facilitated by Reiki Shihan (Master-Teacher), Lou Orsan This two-day Level II training enhances your knowledge and practice of traditional Japanese...

Cost: $190

Where:
Northeast Reiki Center
61 Nicholas Road, Suite B2
Framingham, MA  01701
View map »


Sponsor: Northeast Reiki Center
Telephone: 508-808-5696
Contact Name: Lou Orsan
Website »

More information

Do you desire more connection and nourishing touch?  Do you find it hard to ask for what you really would like in life and in the bedroom? Do you want to improve your confidence and...

Cost: $97

Where:
Watertown Center for Healing Arts
17 Spring St
Watertown, MA
View map »


Sponsor: Conscious Intimacy
Telephone: 415-244-1652
Contact Name: Brynn Bishop
Website »

More information

January 14 - December 9, 2017 With Tom Frederick Novice — This 12-month program is designed to assist you on your journey to spiritual enlightenment. Here we study a variety of esoteric...

Cost: $1300

Where:
Women of Wisdom
118 Washington Street
North Easton, MA  02356
View map »


Sponsor: Women of Wisdom
Telephone: 508-230-3680
Contact Name: Women of Wisdom
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags