With an increasing number of Americans using marijuana, a natural question arises: what is the safest method of consumption—edibles or smoking?
According to a new report by The Daily Mail, eating cannabis is worse than smoking it for your mental health.
“With edibles, it takes a while for THC [the psychoactive component in cannabis] to end up in the bloodstream, compared to the quick peek you get with inhaling. The delayed reaction – maybe two to four hours after eating – means that people often end up eating a lot more because they think nothing is happening. Then they get a great big whack of THC, and the high lasts a lot longer,” Dr Libby Stuyt, a board-certified addiction psychiatrist working in Colorado told DailyMail.com.
Stuyt also cautioned that pairing marijuana consumption with fatty foods, such as popular edibles like chocolate and cookies, can significantly enhance the potency of THC, up to four times.
“Fat helps the body digest the chemical, so you absorb more of it,” Stuyt told DailyMail.com.
Research from Colorado has also indicated an increase in pot-related emergency room visits, with edibles causing more severe effects, including psychiatric symptoms and heart problems.
The edible candies “look very innocent and safe, so you take another and another, and slowly it is being absorbed. And then you start to feel awful, before you complete the absorption, and that can lead to a psychotic episode,” said Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse of the National Institutes of Health, who wrote an editorial accompanying the study.
Additional studies have underscored the mental health risks of marijuana, linking heavy use to increased chances of schizophrenia and a higher risk of depression, suicidal ideation, and suicide attempts, as well as contributing to new psychosis cases. Moreover, marijuana use, regardless of the method, has been associated with a 60 percent higher risk of a first heart attack or stroke.
Despite these concerns, the latest Gallup survey reveals a significant uptick in marijuana experimentation, with half of all Americans having tried it and 16 percent currently smoking it. This number has more than doubled since 2013, reflecting a notable shift in societal attitudes toward marijuana use.