man with marijuana addiction from thc edibles

Marijuana edibles, also known as THC edibles or edible cannabis products, have become increasingly popular for their convenience and ease of use. While the legality of cannabis remains unsettled in various states, it is still a Schedule I substance with a potential for abuse. The abusive potential and addictive nature of cannabis pose a range of severe health risks and potentially fatal consequences, including cannabis use disorder and THC overdose.

What Are THC Edibles?

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the primary psychoactive compound in marijuana, next to cannabidiol (CBD). While THC and CBD two have similar chemical structures, their effects on the brain are not the same. THC produces psychoactive effects, while CBD has anxiolytic and antipsychotic effects. CBD derived from hemp plants is legal in almost every state, while THC, being the primary psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, is not. Marijuana remains a Schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). Tetrahydrocannabinol, also known as Delta-8 THC and Delta-9 THC, is also labeled a Schedule 1 substance, meaning it has a high potential for abuse.

thc edibles and cannabis-infused edibles

Marijuana edibles, or edible cannabis products, have become a rather popular method for achieving the effects of cannabis without having to smoke it. In the legalized cannabis market, dispensaries and manufacturers are selling cannabis-infused cookies, THC gummies, brownies, chocolates, lollipops, and other baked goods.

Most THC edibles, both legally and illegally produced, contain a higher concentration of THC than any other ingredient. Medical cannabis and legally obtained edibles typically list the specific ingredients and THC dosage, which may not pose as many dangers and risks. Illegally manufactured edible cannabis products are somewhat inconsistent and inaccurate when it comes to THC content in edibles. The unknown ingredients and content of THC in edibles can raise a significant amount of health risks and dangers.

The Addictive Potential of Edible Cannabis Products

Rather than smoking or vaping cannabis, edibles have become a more discreet and convenient way to consume marijuana. Marijuana’s psychoactive effects, or rather THC’s effects, produce a “high” feeling, affecting one’s mood, perception, and cognitive functions. While cannabis has not been commonly associated with being an addictive substance, the use of it is habit-forming and holds the potential for psychological dependence. This addictive potential for edible marijuana is a result of the high THC concentration, delayed effects, psychological effects, societal factors, as well as a range of individual factors influencing it.

THC Concentration and Dosage Control

The THC concentration in edibles is generally inconsistent and unpredictable, which makes it challenging for users to define a suitable dosage. While some products may have a recommended dose label, this dosage is not always appropriate for all users. Someone who is smaller in size or has a low tolerance for substances may experience more extreme effects from the recommended dosage. At the same time, someone larger in size or with a higher tolerance may experience reduced psychoactive effects.

Even medical cannabis products containing THC that are legally sold in stores can pose severe risks and fatal consequences for some users. Overconsumption of THC edibles is expected due to its delayed effects, which can result in a more extreme, prolonged experience. This effect can increase someone’s risk of developing a tolerance and potential dependence on marijuana edibles.

THC and marijuana addiction

Delayed Onset of Marijuana Effects

Unlike the immediate effects of traditional vaping or smoking, the effects of THC edibles are somewhat delayed. Since the THC absorbs through the digestive system before entering the bloodstream, this delays the onset of psychoactive effects. Many users underestimate the impact of edibles or are too impatient to wait for them to kick in, so they take more than the recommended dose. Taking too much of an edible can result in a marijuana overdose, which is, unfortunately, irreversible. However, a cannabis overdose is not particularly fatal, and its effects wear off over time.

The signs and symptoms of a THC overdose include:

  • Severe anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Paranoia
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Agitation
  • Cardiac stress
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Pale skin
  • Hallucinations
  • Cognitive and motor impairment
  • Seizures

If you’re experiencing an overdose of marijuana, it’s essential to get professional help or assistance to help address the symptoms or receive medical attention.

Overconsumption increases their THC intake, which not only heightens the health risks but also enhances one’s tolerance. When someone develops a tolerance to marijuana edibles, they might begin to consume them more frequently, leading them to depend on these products for their psychoactive effects. Depending on THC edibles increases someone’s risk for an addiction and potentially fatal reaction.

Psychological vs. Physical Dependence

Cannabis is not commonly associated with physical dependence but instead leads to psychological dependence. Developing a psychological reliance on THC edibles is characterized by the compulsive need to consume the drug for its psychological effects, such as euphoria or relaxation. With heavy and prolonged use of marijuana edibles, users may experience withdrawal symptoms when tapering off cannabis. Physical withdrawal symptoms may include irritability, trouble sleeping, increased anxiety, headaches, and appetite changes.

woman with marijuana use disorder from thc edibles

Individual Factors Influencing Edible Addiction

Addiction risks vary among individuals’ genetic, psychological, and environmental factors. Some users with genetic predispositions or addiction in their family may be more prone to cannabis addiction than someone without. Many individuals use cannabis as a form of self-medication for mental health disorders, such as anxiety or depression. Self-medicating, genetic factors, or family history can increase someone’s chances of becoming addicted to marijuana, making it more difficult for them to stop using it.

Societal and Legal Considerations

As cannabis legalization and availability continue to increase, making it more accessible and attractive for users and non-users. The increased accessibility of THC edibles, along with marketing labels deeming them safe, has contributed to higher rates of cannabis use and misuse. Over time, cannabis, as well as edibles, have become socially acceptable and encouraged among teens, young adults, and older adults. The lack of social stigma around cannabis use may also play a role in their potential for addiction, encouraging people of all ages to use.

THC Edible Abuse: Detox Treatment for Marijuana Use Disorders

While cannabis has been used for therapeutic uses or medical treatments, it also comes with a list of risks and dangers, including cannabis-induced overdoses and marijuana use disorders. While a cannabis overdose is not as common as an overdose of opioids or fentanyl, it has become increasingly familiar with the rise of edibles and delta-9 THC. Marijuana or cannabis use disorders, specifically from THC edibles, can lead to severe health complications, adverse THC reactions, and potential overdose. While marijuana does not hold the same addictive potential as opioids, heroin, or alcohol, it is still habit-forming.

Undergoing marijuana detox and treatment can help individuals struggling with THC edible abuse and addiction get the treatment they need. If you or a loved one are seeking marijuana detox treatment in Stuart, FL, Coastal Detox has what you’ve been searching for.

At our medical detox center in South Florida, we are dedicated to helping our patients overcome the challenges of addiction and enter a life of freedom in sobriety. Get SOBER and CALL TODAY!