HealthWhat Are Edibles - Benefits, Facts & Side Effects In Our Guide...

What Are Edibles – Benefits, Facts & Side Effects In Our Guide 2024

The cannabis plant has long had a negative reputation, leading organizations like the Drug Enforcement Administration to arrest individuals involved in its sale and use. However, over the past few decades, we’ve seen governments in various states both approve and dismantle prohibitions on medical marijuana.

This shift has created opportunities for individuals and businesses to make a living through the sale and distribution of cannabis-infused food products. Those who use marijuana for medical reasons extol its virtues in relieving pain, enhancing mood, improving mental well-being, and promoting overall health. While smoking remains the most common method of cannabis consumption, there is a growing trend to incorporate marijuana into edible products.

Retailers and distributors offer cannabis products in a variety of forms, including tinctures, teas, capsules, oils, and most notably, edibles. Among these various cannabis products, marijuana edibles are perhaps the least understood. Today we want to shed some light on this category. If you’re interested in expanding your knowledge of marijuana edibles, read on.

Key Insights

  • Edibles offer a spectrum of benefits that include relaxation, seizure relief, and effective pain management
  • These positive effects are primarily attributed to the key component, Cannabis sativa, found in cannabis-infused edibles
  • To take full advantage of these benefits while minimizing potential risks, it is imperative to avoid harmful practices such as overconsumption
  • Here are some valuable recommendations to ensure you optimize the benefits of edibles while mitigating the risks associated with them

How Long Have Edibles Been Around?

Edibles, in the form of cannabis-infused treats, have been delighting taste buds and soothing minds for centuries. From ancient civilizations using them for medicinal purposes to modern cannabis enthusiasts experimenting with gourmet creations, the history of edibles is a testament to the enduring appeal of this delightful culinary experience.

Who In Particular Can Benefit From Edibles?

Edibles offer a wide range of benefits to people seeking alternative methods of consuming cannabis. For those with respiratory problems or an aversion to smoking, edibles offer a smoke-free option. They can be particularly helpful for people dealing with chronic pain, anxiety, or insomnia, as the effects tend to be longer lasting and more body-centered, promoting relaxation and relief.

In addition, edibles can be discreet and convenient, making them suitable for anyone looking for a subtle and precise way to manage their cannabis intake. Whether you’re a medical patient or a recreational user, edibles offer a diverse and accessible way to enjoy the therapeutic and recreational aspects of cannabis.

What Are Edibles Actually?

What are edibles image

Did you know that in the United States alone, adult-use marijuana edibles will generate an estimated $3.6 billion in sales in 2021? This figure is projected to rise to $8.24 billion by 2025, indicating a growing consumer base since the legalization of medical marijuana by the Drug Enforcement Administration.

While smoking cannabis remains a popular method of consumption, there’s been a noticeable shift toward more discreet ways of consuming marijuana, primarily through edibles. Cannabis-infused edibles are food products that contain Cannabis sativa. It can be incorporated into a variety of edible products, including confectionery.

People consume edibles in a variety of forms, including baked goods, cooked foods, and infused beverages such as teas. Marijuana edibles include any cannabis-infused food product that is digested after ingestion. Homemade edibles are also widely available on the market.

Caution With CBD Edibles

Examples of marijuana edibles include CBD gummies, cannabis-infused cookies, cakes, teas, candies, chocolates, and beverages. While commercial marijuana edibles such as edible gummies are generally safe, there may be uncertainty about dosages in homemade products. This uncertainty can create potential risks.

For example, if the edibles maker lacks the knowledge to accurately measure the cannabis content or adds other substances to increase potency, the consequences can be serious. Accidental overconsumption, adverse effects, or addiction to undisclosed substances are possible outcomes in such cases. Homemade edibles may pose higher risks in this context.

To minimize the chances of experiencing negative effects like panic attacks, increased anxiety, or health problems from overconsumption, it’s wise to opt for professionally calibrated edibles. These products, such as CBD gummies, provide clear information on potency, ingredients, and dosage instructions.

However, if you still prefer to make homemade cannabis-infused brownies or other edibles, it’s important to educate yourself on proper edible dosages during the preparation process. Refer to a reliable dosage chart to guide you in the safe preparation of homemade edibles.

Benefits Of Edibles

Consuming cannabis edibles generally provides similar benefits to the human body as smoking marijuana. However, due to the method of ingestion, the onset of effects may take longer as the cannabis needs to be digested.

If you are concerned about getting a high, you may want to consider using CBD edibles. But what exactly are CBD edibles? Unlike THC edibles, which can induce a high, CBD gummies, for example, have no psychoactive effects. That being said, here are some of the positive effects associated with edibles:

Pain Relief

CBD can be used as an effective pain treatment due to its anti-inflammatory properties. As a result, it is a common choice for individuals suffering from chronic pain rooted in inflammation. Research shows that medical cannabis patients with chronic pain can achieve improved pain management by consuming cannabis-infused baked goods. The degree of pain relief varies depending on the amount of THC consumed and the type of pain.

While CBD has been shown to relieve inflammatory pain, more research is needed to understand its effectiveness in treating other types of pain. Edibles are used by patients to alleviate conditions such as arthritis, cancer-related pain, fibromyalgia, and neuropathic pain. Some edibles contain a combination of THC and CBD for a balanced effect.

Others may have higher THC levels depending on the specific chemotype used in the edible blend. A chemotype refers to a cannabis plant with similar physical characteristics but a different cannabinoid composition, including varying levels of terpenes and flavonoids.


One of the benefits of marijuana-infused edibles is a general sense of relaxation. However, the degree of relaxation depends on the specific strain of marijuana used in these edibles. Typically, there are two popular strains: Cannabis Sativa and Cannabis Indica. On a more scientific level, the active ingredients responsible for inducing relaxation are CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol).

These compounds can also potentially reduce anxiety and alleviate symptoms of depression. Medical marijuana is typically derived from Cannabis indica and certain chemotypes of Cannabis sativa, while CBD is derived from certain strains of Cannabis sativa, often referred to as industrial hemp.

THC, the molecule responsible for the euphoric effects of edibles and other forms of cannabis, has been shown to affect mood and provide analgesic effects, according to an older study. Sativa strains generally have higher THC levels than Indica strains, with the exception of industrial hemp, which typically contains no more than 0.3% THC.

Cannabidiol (CBD) is another compound found in cannabis and is known for its anti-anxiety properties. According to a 2019 study, over 79% of patients struggling with anxiety or sleep issues experienced a reduction in anxiety levels when using CBD throughout the study. Additionally, a separate study of adolescents with social anxiety further supports the idea that CBD significantly reduces anxiety levels.

While more research is needed to fully understand these effects, these findings provide a hopeful outlook for the potential therapeutic benefits of CBD and THC in promoting relaxation and alleviating anxiety.

Anti-Seizure Benefits

CBD has been shown to have anti-seizure properties, suggesting its potential as a treatment for epilepsy. In particular, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a specific isolated CBD extract known as Epidiolex. This approval is for the treatment of two types of epilepsy associated with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome.

A 2017 source highlights research on the use of CBD to improve seizure control in people with certain epileptic syndromes. Edibles are one possible method of consuming cannabis to help manage seizures. However, it’s important to note that more research is needed before people with epilepsy can consider using cannabis as a treatment for their condition.

In addition, establishing a clear and precise dosing regimen is critical. For individuals seeking seizure control with Epidiolex, the recommended dosage is 20 mg/kg of CBD isolate, where 1 kg is approximately 2.2 pounds. This dosing guideline provides a reference point for those considering the use of CBD for the treatment of intractable seizures.

Additional Benefits

In addition, edible cannabis products have shown potential in relieving muscle spasms and reducing nausea and vomiting. They may also help improve overall sleep quality. Interestingly, pharmaceutical companies have already developed oral preparations of cannabis-derived therapies, such as Sativex.

Sativex is a nasal spray that contains equal amounts of THC and CBD. It is used to treat pain and muscle stiffness, highlighting the growing recognition of cannabis-based treatments in the medical field.

Edibles vs. Smoking: Which Is Riskier?

One of the most important differences between smoking marijuana and consuming edibles is the duration of the effects. Smoking cannabis results in a rapid onset of effects that also wear off quickly, while edibles have a digestion delay and a more gradual wear off of effects with a longer duration.

For individuals using marijuana for pain relief, smoking requires frequent use to maintain the pain-relieving benefits. It’s worth noting that smoking marijuana can potentially lead to bronchitis and lung irritation. However, there is no established link between prolonged cannabis use and the development of lung cancer.

On the other hand, marijuana edibles offer the advantage of avoiding exposure to the carcinogenic compounds released during combustion of the plant material. However, there is a greater risk of overconsumption with edibles, which can lead to overdose symptoms.

What Is The Difference Between Edibles And Vaporizers?

The main difference between edibles and vaporizers lies in how cannabis is consumed and how the effects are experienced. Edibles are typically food or drink products infused with cannabis extracts, such as brownies or gummy bears. When consumed, they must first pass through the digestive system, which can take up to an hour or more for the effects to kick in.

In contrast, vaporizers heat cannabis flower or concentrates to create an inhalable vapor that is absorbed directly into the bloodstream through the lungs, resulting in a faster onset of effects, usually within minutes. The choice between edibles and vaporizers often depends on personal preferences, desired effects, and health considerations.

The Difference Between CBD And THC Edibles

CBD edibles are infused with CBD as the active ingredient and offer various options such as cookies, chocolates, and CBD gummies, among others. The benefits of CBD edibles are the same as other CBD products, and they are chosen by many for their potential health benefits. While consuming CBD in the form of oil or tincture is the most common method, edibles are growing in popularity.

CBD edibles can be categorized into three main types: isolates, broad-spectrum, and full-spectrum. Isolates contain only CBD, broad-spectrum contains CBD along with other hemp compounds except THC, and full-spectrum CBD edibles contain everything, including THC, but at levels below the legal limit of 0.3%.

THC, like CBD, provides a number of therapeutic benefits. The legality of THC edibles varies by state, as it can cause intoxication in some individuals. In states with medical marijuana programs, edibles with higher THC levels are permitted, subject to lab testing and verification of THC content. Currently, these products are legally available for sale in 36 states.

A standard dose of THC is typically 5 mg, and it is recommended not to exceed a daily intake of 40 mg. It’s important to use caution when consuming marijuana edibles, as they can deliver the full effects of THC with a high potential for overdose. Proper dosing is essential for safe consumption.

Edibles Dosage

Effective and safe dosing of THC edibles is a nuanced process influenced by weight, experience, and health conditions. It’s wise to start conservatively and gradually increase dosage to achieve desired effects while minimizing risks. Beginners should start with less than 5 mg, intermediates can explore slightly higher doses, and experts should exercise caution with high THC levels.

Dosing based on medical condition allows for a personalized experience, whether for recreational use, appetite stimulation, anxiety relief, or chronic pain management. It’s important to monitor for side effects and seek professional advice if necessary. Responsible use is the key to safely enjoying the benefits of THC edibles.

Factors Influencing THC Dosage

THC, the psychoactive compound found in the cannabis plant, plays a critical role because its amount can significantly affect behavior. When the dosage exceeds a certain threshold, it can cause drowsiness, making tasks such as operating heavy machinery or driving unsafe. As a result, accurate dosing is essential to maintain functionality when needed. Several factors influence THC dosage, including:

Your Current Health

It’s important to note that certain mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia, should not be treated with psychedelics like THC. These psychoactive substances can alter the functioning of your brain, worsening your mental state and increasing hallucinations.

Before beginning any THC-infused edibles, a full medical evaluation is essential to determine the appropriate dosage. In addition, if you are currently taking other medications that may have adverse interactions with THC, your physician may need to make necessary adjustments to your dosage.

Your Medical Needs

THC plays an important role in promoting relaxation and facilitating sleep, but doses above one milligram can have opposite effects. Your doctor will determine the appropriate dosage of THC based on your specific medical needs, including whether you want to achieve relaxation, increased alertness, or better sleep.

How Long Do The Effects Of Edibles Last?

When it comes to oral CBD dosing, it typically takes about two hours for the increased relaxation effects to become noticeable. In general, these effects can last for about 5-6 hours, and it is advisable to wait at least 24 hours before taking another dose. If you find that the previous day’s dose didn’t produce the desired level of relaxation or effect, consider increasing the dose by 5 mg increments until you achieve the desired result.

Consuming marijuana through edibles can result in effects that last an estimated 12 hours, with residual effects that may last up to 24 hours. However, the duration of these effects may vary depending on the potency of the cannabis used.

The longer lasting effects could affect your ability to perform activities the next day. It’s worth noting that medical users who report improved sleep and pain relief from cannabis may find the longer duration of edibles to be beneficial.

Are Edibles Harmful To Your Health?

The potential dangers associated with edibles stem primarily from certain harmful practices, particularly overconsumption. Edibles can have adverse effects if the dosage exceeds your body’s tolerance threshold, leading to long-term negative consequences. Another way in which edibles can pose a risk to your well-being is if you have pre-existing medical conditions and are taking medications that may interact unfavorably with marijuana.

Marijuana is metabolized in the liver using an enzyme that is also essential for the metabolism of many drugs. This poses a significant risk for potential drug-drug interactions, and caution should be exercised when such interactions occur.

Alcohol and various medications, such as blood thinners, can interact with edibles and other forms of cannabis. These interactions may enhance the effects of THC or interfere with the functionality of the medication. Below we outline the potential side effects that edibles may cause.

Risks Associated With Edibles

There are several risks associated with the consumption of many edibles, including:

Overdose And Overconsumption

Because there is no accurate way to measure the exact amount of THC or CBD in homemade edibles such as brownies, there is a risk of unintentional overdose. This can cause the edibles to be much stronger than expected. Because the effects are not immediate, individuals may be tempted to consume more, which can have devastating consequences. In such cases, one may have to endure several hours of intense psychoactive effects before they subside.

Accidental Ingestion Of Cannabis Edibles

Distinguishing between a regular food product and a cannabis-infused food product can be challenging because they often look identical. Unless one is aware that a product contains CBD or THC, accidental ingestion of edibles can easily occur. This risk is particularly high for children, pets, and unsuspecting adults who may be unfamiliar with edibles.

Children, pets, and others may unintentionally overindulge or ingest edibles such as cannabis-infused candies, cookies, mints, and various other products they encounter. Colorful and tempting candies, such as gummy bears, can tempt children to consume more than one.

In regions where cannabis has been legalized, there has been a significant 30.3% increase in cannabis-related calls to poison control centers between 2005 and 2011. Accidental ingestion of edibles is a potential hazard that warrants caution. Children’s Hospital Colorado advises parents to treat marijuana like other medications and keep it out of the reach of children to prevent accidental use.

Long-Term Health Concerns

Prolonged use of THC-based edibles may have adverse effects on memory and cognitive health. In addition, individuals who are predisposed to mental illnesses such as schizophrenia may experience increased psychotic episodes with the use of edibles.

In the case of adolescents, whose brains are still developing, THC use increases the risk of developing mental health problems while potentially impairing memory and hindering the learning process.

Consistent use of THC, as opposed to CBD edibles, can lead to addiction. Because many edibles on the market lack standardized dosage guidelines, individuals may inadvertently consume varying potencies repeatedly. While marijuana addiction is relatively rare, it remains a possibility that may require addiction treatment.

Side Effects Of CBD Edibles

Possible side effects resulting from excessive consumption of CBD edibles include:

  • Fatigue
  • Decreased appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Drowsiness
  • Dry mouth

With THC edibles, there is a high likelihood of overdosing and experiencing the following side effects

  • Panic attacks
  • Feeling of nausea
  • Paranoia
  • Impaired motor skills
  • Hallucinations

Tips For Safe Edibles Consumption

Here are guidelines to help you reap the benefits of edibles while minimizing potential negative effects:

CBD Edibles

Source quality products: When it comes to CBD edibles, it’s important to purchase them from a reputable vendor. This will ensure that the CBD potency listed is accurate and that the product does not contain undisclosed substances or drugs that could lead to addiction or adverse effects. Pay attention to dosage: After purchasing quality CBD products, pay close attention to the recommended dosage provided by a healthcare professional.

Avoid consuming alcohol shortly after consuming edible marijuana, as this can increase the psychoactive effects of THC. Use as directed: Always use CBD edibles for their intended purpose, which should be clearly stated on the product packaging. This will ensure that you’re getting the benefits you want while avoiding abuse.

THC Edibles

The safety tips for THC edibles are similar to those for CBD products, as both provide therapeutic benefits to the body. When consuming THC edibles, it’s important to be aware of the THC content.

To avoid the risk of hallucinations and psychotic episodes, stick to a safe and recommended dosage and potency. If you have a mental health condition such as schizophrenia, it’s advisable to refrain from using psychoactive THC edibles as they may worsen your condition.

What Are Some Good Alternatives To Edibles?

If you’re looking for alternatives to edibles, there are many options to explore in the world of cannabis consumption. Vaporizers offer a smoke-free and fast-acting option, with a wide variety of strains and flavors to enjoy. Tinctures and sublingual oils offer a discreet and precise way to administer cannabis under the tongue for rapid absorption.

For a traditional experience, smoking cannabis flower remains popular and allows for immediate effects. Topical cannabis-infused creams and lotions can be applied directly to the skin for localized relief without psychoactive effects. Ultimately, the right alternative depends on your preferences and desired results, so there’s something for everyone in the cannabis world.

Frequently Asked Questions

What exactly are cannabis edibles and how do they affect the human body?

Edibles are food products that have been infused with cannabis. The effects on the body depend on whether the active ingredient is THC or CBD, as well as the user’s level of familiarity with the substance.

Are there alternatives to traditional edibles?

Yes, there are several alternatives such as sublingual tinctures, capsules and topical applications. These offer alternative ways of consuming cannabinoids to suit individual preferences and needs.

How long will cannabis edibles remain detectable in my system?

The length of time that marijuana compounds remain detectable in an individual’s system can vary, with factors such as THC concentration, metabolism, and hydration affecting drug test results. THC can be detected in hair for up to 90 days and in urine for anywhere from three days to a month or longer, depending on the frequency of use. It can also be detected in saliva for up to 48 hours and in blood for 36 hours.

Are cannabis-infused edibles legal everywhere?

Legislation regarding edibles varies by geographic location and may change over time. In some areas they may be legal for both medical and recreational purposes, while in others there may be restrictions or outright bans. It is important to be aware of the laws in your area.

Do CBD-infused edibles really provide therapeutic benefits?

Of course they do, especially when used for their intended purpose and in accordance with recommended dosages. The use of CBD edibles can lead to the realization of comprehensive health benefits.


Edible cannabis products are available in a variety of forms and offer potential benefits such as the relief of chronic medical conditions and anxiety symptoms. However, it’s important to be aware of potential adverse effects, drug interactions, and delayed onset of action.

The legality of using medical or recreational cannabis products depends on your geographic location. To ensure your safety and effectiveness, it is advisable to purchase only from legal and reputable dispensaries that offer quality-tested products for purity and potency. Ideally, these products should undergo third-party laboratory testing for added assurance.


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Jayson Peterson is an experienced pharmacist, naturopathic physician, medical examiner, and minister. After earning his Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the Medical University of South Carolina, Jayson Peterson completed clinical rotations at several prestigious healthcare institutions and has been affiliated with several pharmacy chains throughout his career. His main passion and zeal is focused on providing world-class patient care by giving precise details and thorough instructions to those who need it most.



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