Dear Dr. Beal: I am a parent of a 17-year-old high school senior and a 19-year-old college freshman. I discovered in my car one morning (after they had used it to attend a party), a plastic zip lock bag with what appeared to be chocolate brownies. The package label said CANNABIS BROWIES. I have heard about something that is called edible marijuana. Can you share some information on edible marijuana?
Dear Reader: Marijuana has changed considerably in the past 25 years. Many states throughout America has now made recreational use of Marijuana legal. One form of Marijuana use is to add it to candy, soda, brownies, cookies, and other sweet treats. Therefore, people can eat marijuana rather than inhaling it.
Edible marijuana contains the active agent called THC. It is the same chemical that is in Marijuana when it is smoked. The THC is what affects the body and the brain of individuals who ingest it. Edible marijuana has to be digested first. Each person who eats it, may metabolize it at different rates. Therefore it may be difficult to know how soon and how strongly a person will feel the effects of the drug. We also don’t know how long the effects will last.
According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, marijuana use, whether it is inhaled or ingested is not safe for teenagers. It is not until a person is about twenty-five years old, as their brain is still developing. Continual use of marijuana can cause permanent changes to the developing brain. Research from the U.S. Surgeon General has noted that marijuana use can contribute to a loss of memory.
When consuming edible marijuana, a person may not know for sure just how much of the THC they are taking into their body. Consequently, there is a greater likelihood for a marijuana overdose. Some people may expect to feel the effects of edible marijuana sooner and mistakenly think they need to eat more. A marijuana overdose can cause hallucinations, confusion, and impaired ability to walk or control body movements. It can also cause extreme anxiety or even panic.
Also, it is critcal to note that using marijuana together with alcohol is risky. Using them together at the same time can cause nausea, dizziness, and impaired judgment.
Finally, it is important to be familiar with the laws in your state. In most jurisdictions, even if it is legal to dispense marijuana, it is illegal for a person under the age of twenty –one to use marijuana, whether it is smoked or eaten.
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