Cannabis edibles present novel health risks, warn scientists

Posted: 6 January 2020 | | 2 comments

Cannabis edibles are said to take on average four hours longer to produce noticeable effects in comparison to inhaled cannabis, which can allegedly increase the risk of overconsumption.

Cannabis edibles present novel health risks, warn scientists

With the recent legalisation of cannabis edibles in Canada, physicians and the public must be aware of the novel risks of cannabis edibles, argued authors in a commentary in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

“Although edibles are commonly viewed as a safer and more desirable alternative to smoked or vaped cannabis, physicians and the public should be aware of several risks related to the use of cannabis edibles,” wrote Dr Jasleen Grewal and Dr Lawrence Loh from the University of Toronto.

With effects of cannabis edibles reported to last up to eight hours in some cases, edibles can lead to a longer period of impairment compared to inhaled cannabis, according to the authors.

While federal regulations have standardised the presentation of dosing information, the authors warned that “individuals’ responses to different products may vary and overdosing may still occur, with cannabis-naive individuals particularly at risk.”

Children and pets are said to be at particular risk as many edibles look like confectionery products and other appetising food and drink. Other vulnerable groups are said to include older people and youth.

“Physicians should routinely question patients who ask about cannabis about their use or intended use of edible cannabis products so that they can counsel these patients regarding child safety, potential for accidental overconsumption and delayed effects, and potential for interactions with other substances such as alcohol, benzodiazepines, sleeping aids and opioids,” cautioned the authors.

The authors continued that population-level monitoring, and evaluation of the effects of legalised edibles, will ensure that regulations are best able to protect children, youth, seniors and other age groups from health effects related to the consumption of cannabis edibles.

2 responses to “Cannabis edibles present novel health risks, warn scientists”

  1. James Tripp says:

    Cannabinoids have been ignored as potent medicines due to the pharmaceutical industry’s failure to successfully isolate and synthesize any beneficial individual cannabinoid compounds; They have ignored the synergy and entourage effects of the complex of 100s of Cannabinoids and 100s of terpenes in the Cannabis plant due to the industry wide fixation on the current ‘Isolate, Target, Patent for Profit’, system of pharmaceutical research.

    There is a Pervasive, Institutionalized, Negative Bias against all forms of Cannabis Use that has existed for almost a century and is still rampant in virtually all institutions that form the structure of our society; Those who populate those agencies are institutionalized to think ideologically and only in terms of addiction and harm reduction, crime and punishment, Patent and Profit; In the case of Cannabis they are completely ignoring the abundance of positive heath benefits that the various forms of Whole Plant Cannabinoid Therapy could provide a multitude of individuals, all because it conflicts with established ideological mentality, and/or, it does not fit the current ‘patent and profit’ mandate of pharmaceutical research, production, and marketing.

  2. The problem with this article is that it doesn’t completely define what “overdosing” means.

    Technically, you can’t overdose on cannabis at all – meaning that no matter how much you consume, in any form, it’s not going to kill you the way overdosing on, say, heroin will.

    This is because the neurological receptors for cannabinoids aren’t located in the part of the brainstem (the medulla oblongata) which controls breathing, heart rate, and blood pressure. So, you can’t consume too much weed and have it stop your heart or your breathing.

    You can, of course, consume a lot and then do something stupid that kills you, but winning a Darwin Award isn’t the weed’s fault.

    It turns out there’s some technical terminology for all this. The LD50 (LD for Lethal Dose) is the amount of a drug that would kill half (50%) of any given population. The ED50 (ED for Effective Dose) is the amount of a drug which works well for 50% of any given population.

    The formula behind this is basically that the closer the ED50 and the LD50 are for any given drug, the easier it is to kill yourself with it. Alcohol has an LD50 of 10 drinks and an ED50 of 1 drink. At 10:1, you can understand why so many people get alcohol poisoning. The ratio for heroin is a very tight 5:1. Not a lot of wiggle room.

    However, the ratio for cannabis is about 40,000:1. This is also why nobody dies from weed.

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