Martha Stewart is now selling gourmet, hemp-derived CBD edibles. "I can pop 20 of them and just feel OK," she told a journalist. "But some of my friends do two and feel high. I don't know why."
Reactions to edibles made with CBD or THC (the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana) can be unpredictable — and can have negative health effects.
A study published in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine looked at cases of cannabis toxicity from baked goods, candy, gum, and beverages at seven Michigan hospitals from November 2018, when marijuana became legal there, to July 2020. In those years, the number of patients ages 1 to 82 seen in emergency rooms for adverse reactions to cannabis-laced edibles rose from zero to more than 10 a month.
And we suspect a lot more folks have adverse reactions, but don't seek medical help.
What causes problems? The active drug in edibles takes up to an hour to kick in. People get impatient, eat more, and end up with an elevated heart rate, seizures, unresponsiveness, high blood pressure, and extreme emotional distress.
And kids mistakenly "snack" on edibles left lying around. Several in the Michigan study had to be intubated because of reduced heart rates and breathing problems.
These acute effects are on top of the proven long-term inhibition of brain development in males younger than 21 and females younger than 18.
So if you're trying edibles, get clear instructions on dosing from a licensed dispensary, and follow them — and keep edibles locked up, out of the reach of children.