Is Cooking With Marijuana Bad For You?

Although still illegal on the federal level, it's a different story in 19 states, Washington D.C., and the unincorporated U.S. territory of Guam, where marijuana has been legalized for both recreational and medicinal purposes (per U.S. News and World Report). Like alcohol and tobacco products, however, there are still risks to be aware of when using marijuana, and there are indeed notable dangers to cannabis in food, according to Healthline.

When one eats cannabis instead of smoking it, the time it takes to "kick in" is delayed. This delay is based on multiple factors, such as weight, age, and one's tolerance, so it could be between 30-60 minutes. According to Dr. Lawrence Loh, a researcher and faculty member of the University of Toronto, misunderstanding the delay can lead to overconsumption in an attempt to speed up the process. By the time the effects would kick in, the user would probably be unprepared for the intense rush of the combined edibles. Besides the unexpected intensity, Healthline says the effects of edibles can last three hours longer than smoking marijuana.

As the Canadian Journal of Cardiology reports, side effects of overconsumption of cannabis can affect all ages, especially older folks and children. These can include cardiac attacks, panic attacks, psychosis, impaired brain development, and uncontrollable vomiting. According to Rais Vohra of the California Poison Control System, "We really should be treating these edibles like we do alcoholic beverages and prescription medications and really trying to keep them out of the hands of toddlers and children who can accidentally ingest them."

There is such a thing as eating too much

There's other unfortunate news. If an individual has overconsumed edibles — especially a child — a trip to urgent care is warranted, says Web MD. That's especially true if — though it's rare — a psychotic break is involved. The site also recommends hydrating the individual with lemon juice in water.

In some respects, it's like dealing with someone who's consumed too much alcohol. If someone has had too much to drink, you'd make sure they get home safe, give them some water to relax them, and just have them take it easy until the effects wear off. Seeing someone under the effects of too much cannabis may cause panic at first, but by remaining calm and helping the person in a responsible manner, the incident will pass with only a few headaches and some lessons learned.

Marijuana may be becoming legal, and while the myths and outdated beliefs of it may be fading, but it's still a good idea to use common sense.