For teen pot users who want the effects of cannabis without having to smoke a joint, marijuana edibles have become a popular option. Weed edibles include any food item made with THC, the active component in marijuana, as an ingredient. Teens often view edibles as safer than smoking weed, but they can actually be more dangerous because the actual amount of THC varies widely in each batch.
What Forms Do Marijuana Edibles Come In?
There are lots of for ways marijuana users to get THC into food. Weed can be baked in, sprinkled onto cooked foods or mixed in during stovetop or microwave cooking. Many marijuana edibles are made at home. In states where marijuana is legal for medical or recreational use, some companies now produce weed edibles for sale. Some of the foods users add THC to include:
- Sparkling beverages
- Chocolate candies
- Cakes and muffins
The Effects of Weed Edibles
Marijuana edibles don't affect the body as quickly as smoking weed. The THC takes a longer time to maneuver through the digestive tract and make it to the brain. Generally, a user starts to feel the effects of a weed edible about 30 to 60 minutes after consuming the THC-infused food or drink.
The effects of edibles are generally the same as the effects of smoking pot. Users might experience altered senses, mood changes, impaired memory and problem solving, an altered sense of time and slowed reactions. Some people who use marijuana edibles become paranoid, experience panic attacks, become disoriented or experience delusions and hallucinations. The effects can last up to 10 hours for some users. Teens who consume a weed edible along with alcohol or other drugs may experience more intense or longer-lasting effects.
Weed consumed through edibles and smoked marijuana are both detectable in your system for up to three months. How often you use THC edibles and how much you tend to use each time contribute to how long the drug stays in your body.
Modern marijuana has much higher levels of THC than marijuana did in the past. Modern marijuana samples have THC levels of about 6.1 percent, while marijuana from the 1990s only had levels of about 3.7 percent. These higher levels of THC increase the possibility of addiction, making it more likely that experimentation with edibles becomes dependence on weed. The high levels of THC along with the delay between ingestion and feeling the effects also make overdosing more likely. In general, overdosing on any form of marijuana, including edibles, isn't fatal, but it can be extremely uncomfortable. Shaking, physical discomfort and psychotic episodes are possible during an overdose.
Marijuana edibles can also have long-term effects. Teenage brains are still growing, and using weed edibles can disrupt the normal growth pattern. Pot use can affect learning and memory, which can jeopardize future academic success. Even quitting later in life may not repair the long-term damage of heavy weed edibles consumption in the teen years.
Why Teens Choose Edibles
Among teens, edibles are often considered a safer way of consuming weed. Marijuana baked into a treat or cooked into a candy don't look like pot, which makes it easier for a teen to hide drug use from parents and teachers. THC gummy bears and weed lollypops are simple to pass off as normal candy, so teens can carry and consume them in places where smoking might be noticed or pass them along to other teens without getting caught.
Younger teens who might avoid smoking weed sometimes try edibles because they look tasty and familiar. Marijuana candies are especially tempting to young teens and preteens. Weed edibles can serve as a gateway to other forms of drug use. Because they appeal to younger age groups than smoked forms of weed, edibles can get people hooked on pot much earlier in life. Teens who try marijuana have a higher risk of addiction than adults trying pot for the first time. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, about 17 percent of people who start using marijuana in their teens become addicted, compared to about 9 percent who first try the drug later in life.
The Questionable Legality of Weed Edibles
In some states, buying and selling weed edibles is legal. Some states require a prescription to purchase marijuana edibles, while others allow over the counter sales to people over 21. Teenagers are not allowed to buy weed edibles even where they are legal for adults to purchase, but the easy access makes it convenient for dealers to stock up.
The packaging on legal edibles often appeals to kids and teens and gives the appearance of being a harmless treat. A lack of regulation means that the amount of THC in a particular marijuana edible may not be accurately reported on the package.
Signs That a Teen Is Using Marijuana Edibles
Unlike teens who smoke marijuana, teens who use weed in an edible form don't need the drug paraphernalia typically associated with cannabis use. Users of edibles also avoid the telltale scent of pot smoke on their hair and clothing, making it harder for parents to notice and recognize marijuana use. Just because parents don't find a bong or rolling papers in a teen's room doesn't mean the teen isn't using weed. In the room of an edibles user, parents might instead find cooking or baking tools and accessories kept separate from the household cookware and bakeware. You might also find evidence of brownies, cookies or candies from unknown sources.
Parents who suspect a teen is using marijuana edibles might look for signs of distorted memory and perceptions, impaired coordination or changes in mood. Risky behaviors, a loss of interest in friends and school and a decrease in attention to personal appearance can all be signs of a longer-term problem with marijuana edibles. Sometimes, parents become aware of a problem with weed edibles when the teen starts having problems at school or gets into legal trouble because of the addiction.
For some cannabis users, addiction to weed quickly takes over the teen's life. Parents might notice signs of drug addiction such as dropping grades and severed friendships.
Treatment for Teen Cannabis Edible Use
Teens who become addicted to weed edibles need treatment to break free from marijuana. During recovery from edibles abuse, there's no need to go through a complicated detox program before beginning treatment. Instead, someone who wants to stop using marijuana edibles can enter a residential treatment center and get started combatting the addiction right away. Some withdrawal symptoms may occur, but treatment can proceed while the teen works through those effects. Withdrawal from marijuana edibles usually takes the form of decreased appetite, insomnia, restlessness, mood swings and cravings.
During treatment for marijuana edibles abuse, teens get individual and group counseling to identify the root causes of their drug use and learn how to live drug-free. Cognitive behavioral therapy teaches teens coping skills they can use once they leave the facility, and family counseling sessions help repair relationships that were damaged by the teen's drug use.
Living in a residential inpatient center helps keep your teen focused on recovery. The peaceful atmosphere and focus on treatment ensure that recovery is as comfortable as possible. At Teen Treatment Center, we also treat for co-occurring disorders, including anxiety, depression and other drug or alcohol addictions. Handling co-existing mental health issues helps prevent relapses.
Sometimes, getting a teen into a treatment program can be challenging. Teens who use weed edibles may resist acknowledging that they are a problem. Parents may need to stage an intervention to get a teen into treatment. Even resistant teens can recover from addiction to marijuana edibles.
Call Teen Treatment Center today at (844) 319-5239 to learn more about how you can help your teen get into a residential program to overcome addiction to marijuana edibles.
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