“People can buy cookies, candies and all sorts of things with THC in them. Back in the day, you had to make your own brownies, or something like that, and now they are becoming more widely available and increasing in popularity.”
That’s what happens when medical marijuana is legal in a majority of states.
Marijuana has some well-proven benefits, including relieving chronic pain. It can be taken by smoking, eating or drinking. However, the federal ban on marijuana makes it hard to study its effects on humans, especially what edible marijuana can do to us.
A research group therefore did a study on the effects on lab mice when they consumed edible marijuana, freely as they wanted.
How edible marijuana affected lab mice
There are two main substances in marijuana, THC and CBD. THC can make you relaxed, heighten your senses, and make you high, while CBD does the opposite: it makes you down from anxiety. (See: Medical Marijuana Reduces Severe Pain: Effectiveness and Side Effects for more information).
Researchers offered the mice with dough made from flour, sugar, salt, glycerol and THC.
They observed the effects marijuana had on mice after consuming edible THC. Although theoretically, THC would make you more excited, the mice showed lower body temperature and less activeness after consuming THC voluntarily and repeatedly.
Just like when humans get addicted to marijuana, the mice would also voluntarily consume behavioral-effective doses of edible THC and will repeat the activity.
What effects it might have on humans
Similar conditions may happen to humans, too.
The normal body temperature for adults vary from 97 F to 99 F. Your own normal body temperature can depend on how active you are, the time of the day, your age, sex, what you’ve eaten or drunk, and whether you are in your menstrual cycle (for women).
If your body temperature drops below 95 F, hypothermia occurs. Hypothermia may lead to cold body parts, shivering, tiredness, confusion, irritability, and even death.
What to do
Although consuming edible marijuana may lead to serious results, it only happens when consuming a large amount of marijuana that the body cannot afford.
Why it’s easy to consume an overdose of marijuana
The effects of marijuana on human bodies are somewhat delayed when consumed in food or beverages, compared with by smoking. They usually appear 30 to 60 minutes after consuming because the drug must first pass through the digestive system.
Eating or drinking marijuana delivers significantly less THC into the bloodstream than smoking an equivalent amount of the plant. And because of the delayed effects, it’s easy for you to inadvertently consume more THC than you intend to, which may lead to bad effects.
How to control the dose
Eating an excessive dose of THC can be scary, even for seasoned smokers. To take marijuana safely, here are some tips for you.
1. Measuring by milligrams. Consider 10 milligrams to be a unit or dose, and know that 1 to 2.5 units can make you relax, and larger amounts may be dangerous.
2. Don’t try too much if you are not experienced. If you are taking marijuana for the first time, take no more than 20 milligrams.
3. Never on an empty stomach. Always take marijuana after dinner.
4. Don’t mix it with alcohol.
5. Read the label before taking. Again, do NOT overdose.
6. Seek for medical help if you get too high.
There is still a long way to go.
The research scientists have done on mice opens the door to additional studies that will help shed light on behavioral and physiological effects that occur in people when they eat food infused with marijuana.
But there are still questions remaining to be answered, including the impact of edibles on people’s ability to think, possible long-term consequences for a frequent consumer, and consequences (if any) of a child accidentally eating a marijuana edible.