Marijuana Edibles

Posted in:
Substance Misuse

With a majority of states having the ability to host medical marijuana dispensaries, the increased availability comes with a heightened risk of accidental ingestion among children as these products are cleverly marketed and aim to entice. In its edible form, products laced with marijuana include candies, pastries, cookies, and chocolate with new products frequently hitting the market.

The difference in time for onset of “high.”

“Marijuana” describes a variety of cannabis that is greater than 0.3% THC (dry weight) and carry psychoactive effects when used. The more notable difference between inhalation vs. ingestion of marijuana is the delayed effect. When smoked, the effects of marijuana are typically felt within 30-60 minutes, allowing control over the amount consumed to achieve a “high” whereas ingested marijuana can take up to 4 hours for the user to feel any type of effects as it takes longer to travel through the digestive system and be processed. In this form, overdosing is more common, as individuals tend to overconsume before the effects are felt which end up producing a delayed, more intensified “high.”

Issues with concentration regulations

There are currently no federal guidelines to indicate what a “dose” of marijuana should be; however, there are a few states that carry recommendations for edible products. Some states have declared a single serving to be 10 mg of THC. However, the concentration is not tightly regulated and total amount per serving size may vary, so total consumption often remains a mystery to the user.

Negative effects of marijuana edibles include:

  • Poor coordination
  • Paranoia
  • Psychotic-like symptoms (where there may not have been a history of psychiatric illness)
  • Panic attacks
  • Hallucinations


Storage– Ensure edible marijuana products are kept in their original containers and stored in child resistant containers and out of reach of children.

Talk to the family that consumes products– Many of the accidental poisonings occur because of a relative’s edible marijuana in the home.  Be sure to ask family, friends, and caregivers if they consume these products and to be mindful of their storage.

Be cautious/mindful when using– If a person in the household consumes these products, never do so around children as this can entice them to experiment with the product. Consuming such products can further inhibit a person’s ability to provide a safe environment when caring for children.

If there is, an emergency– If accidental ingestion has occurred, know the number to call your poison center at 1-800-222-1222. If the person’s symptoms include severe lethargy or slowed breathing, dial 911.


Edible Marijuana Dangers: How Parents Can Prevent Pot Poisoning. (n.d.) Retrieved from

Map of Marijuana Legality by State (2019 May) Retrieved from:

Hemp vs Marijuana: The Difference Explained (2019, May 19) Retrieved from:

(KT, Vo., Horng, H., K, Li., Ry, Ho., AHB, Wu., KL, Lynch., & Smollin, CG) Cannabis Intoxication Case Series: The Dangers of Edibles Containing Tetrahydrocannabinol. Ann Emerg Med. 2018 Mar;71(3):306-313. doi: 10.1016/j.annemergmed.2017.09.008. Epub 2017 Nov 3.