Are cannabis edibles safer than smoking marijuana?

When it comes to marijuana, what's the safest way to use it? The debate between eating marijuana versus smoking it is common. There's growing concern about marijuana use among teenagers, especially because it can lead to addiction.

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Are cannabis edibles safer than smoking marijuana?

Learn about cannabis edibles

Cannabis edibles are products infused with cannabis that are meant to be eaten rather than smoked or vaporized. They come in various shapes and forms, including:

  • Baked goods, such as brownies or cookies
  • Hard candies, such as lollipops or mints
  • Savory foods such as pretzels, peanut butter, or biscuits
  • Gummies and chews
  • Drinks
  • Marijuana-infused cooking oils

Each of these edibles contains added tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the psychoactive ingredient found in marijuana. They come in a variety of dosages, ranging from very small amounts of THC to extremely high concentrations.

Which is safer: consuming cannabis edibles or smoking cannabis?

Users of edible cannabis may experience different physical and psychological effects compared to smokers, as well as potentially different patterns of problematic use.

Physical side effects

In terms of physical side effects, consuming marijuana may indeed be safer than smoking it. When a person smokes marijuana, they inhale the burning substance, which can cause severe lung irritation.

Marijuana smoke shares many negative effects with tobacco smoke, containing various carcinogens, toxins, and irritants that can harm blood vessels and cause lung scarring.

In contrast, the physical side effects of cannabis edibles are minimal, aside from those caused by tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The most common side effect is nausea or an upset stomach.

Psychological impact

The risk of adverse psychological effects between consuming cannabis edibles and smoking cannabis is less clear. However, the greatest danger of any cannabis use is the risk of addiction, which can occur with both methods.

Two factors are crucial in determining addiction risk: the amount of the drug consumed and the time it takes to feel its effects.

Marijuana edibles can contain much higher levels of THC than smoked marijuana. Additionally, their effects may take up to two hours to manifest, leading many individuals, especially teenagers, to consume more than intended and receive much higher doses. High doses are a significant risk factor for addiction.

In contrast, smoking marijuana produces almost immediate effects, which can also increase the risk of substance use disorders. However, users often have better control over their dosage because they feel the effects immediately.

Both methods of marijuana use carry risks.

How Cannabis Addiction Treatment Helps

Whether teenagers use marijuana or opt for edibles, they are at a heightened risk of addiction. When marijuana use begins during adolescence, the chances of developing a substance use disorder increase significantly. However, there are youth-focused services available to help combat weed addiction.

A dedicated team of addiction experts can utilize a range of evidence-based therapies and treatments to assist teenagers in resisting substance use, avoiding relapse, and acquiring the skills to lead stronger, healthier lives in recovery.

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