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Marijuana Edibles - Lightshade Dispensary Colorado

Cannabis Edibles – Keys to Safe Consumption

Edibles are a fun alternative for people who’d prefer not to inhale cannabis, but consumers (and the media) need some education around safe consumption.

Edibles are the consumption method of choice for many fans of cannabis. You love them, we love them, and for consumers who’d prefer not to inhale cannabis, edibles are a great alternative.

Still, there are specific guidelines for the safe consumption of cannabis edibles that need to be discussed. We’ve noticed an uptick in stories, from both local and national media outlets, citing studies that show an increase in Emergency Room visits related to the consumption of edibles.

Before we move on, let’s set the record straight

Lightshade supports the SAFE consumption of cannabis edibles—but we DO NOT support their misuse, abuse, or the consumption of edibles by people who are not yet educated on safe consumption guidelines (or minors).

Now that we’ve cleared the air it’s time to dive into the problem and the solution.

A study published this month in the Annals of Internal Medicine examined roughly 10,000 patients at UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital for four years—from 2012 to 2016. The study, as is typical of studies and media coverage related to cannabis (yes, even in Colorado where cannabis is legal), is designed to portray cannabis and cannabis consumers, in a less-than-favorable light.

The media is quick to point out the dangers of edibles as a growing concern but fails to highlight the inadequate and skewed data set from which this study draws its conclusions.

What is not reported by this study, is the fact that the data set used represents less than one percent (.57 percent) of the total ER visits. The .57 figure used was informed by coding in a patient’s chart indicating partial attribution to cannabis.

A statement issued by the Marijuana Industry Group explains, “Of the ER visits partially attributed to cannabis, 62.7 percent were discharged, none were admitted to the intensive care unit, and none died. Consistent with other examinations on the issue, the majority of cases presented nominal health issues and patients went home.”

The study used data gathered during a period in which Colorado was transitioning from a strictly medical cannabis system to a system where both medical and recreational cannabis is legal. The intake data used in this study doesn’t segment between regulated and unregulated sources of product, and those differences in the product are significant. Because of the limited data set—and the skewed perspective from which the study was conducted—the findings are suspect. Regardless, we’d rather focus on education and changing the narrative around cannabis in the media, and less on studies and coverage that only serve to perpetuate a longstanding stigma.

What you need to know about edibles

We’ve said this before, and we will repeat it: start low and go slow.

Edibles are different than other consumption methods, primarily in their time to onset. When you consume an edible, it has to pass through your digestive tract before it has an opportunity to produce its effects. Where consumers get into trouble is when they eat an edible, assume it isn’t the appropriate dosage, and consume again in rapid succession (and perhaps again after that).

It’s that simple.

When you’re starting out, you should consult with our budtenders on safe consumption guidelines. We’d typically suggest that you select an edible with a low dosage of THC, and DO NOT re-dose until at least four hours later. We don’t want to see anyone wind up in the ER for something as easily preventable as an edible-induced freakout.  

If you have over-indulged in edibles, don’t panic. Research suggests that CBD can counteract some of the anxiety-inducing side-effects of THC.

As early as 1982, there were indications that the psychosis and anxiety-inducing effects of THC can be suppressed by CBD. Several other studies have found support for the antipsychotic effects of CBD.

In addition, Dr. Dustin Sulack from healer.com, a leader in cannabis medicine, has a few ideas for you:

If you find you’ve inhaled or ingested too much cannabis and don’t want to feel high, don’t despair. There are a few simple ways to make the feeling of intoxication go away faster. Dr. Sulack suggests you try lemon zest. Simply grind a lemon peel and sprinkle it on some food - or have a cup of chamomile tea to help you relax and relieve the psychoactive effects. The good news is that THC is non-toxic and won’t harm you, even in high doses, so just hydrate, try one of these effective antidotes and wait it out. You’ll soon be back to normal.

The education pages on our site are packed with information around various methods of consumption and include tips for the safe use of edibles. As part of our commitment to combatting the misinformation presented by mass media and the resulting stigma, Lightshade WILL ALWAYS be available to answer questions surrounding all areas of cannabis, from consumption guidelines, and various methods of consumption, to information around the latest products and exciting industry news.

At the end of the day, we want you to have a safe and pleasant cannabis experience. Please reach out if you have any questions, comments, or concerns.

Additional reading: PotGuide.com recently published an article packed with great information around what you can expect to feel if you’ve gone overboard with an edible, and what you can do to mitigate the side-effects. Click here to read the article.