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Cannabis edibles cause greater risk of overdosing warn doctors

By Ramla Soni

The two most populations at high risk of harm from cannabis edibles are children and older adults

Canadian doctors have warned that cannabis edibles with a longer latency and duration of effects than inhaled cannabis can have a greater risk of overdosing from overconsumption.

According to a new paper published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ), the psychoactive effects can take up to four hours to kick fully in as it takes longer for the body to absorb edibles than other forms of marijuana, and the effects can last for more than eight hours overall.

Canada amended its cannabis regulations in October last year allowing the legal production and sale of cannabis edibles.

As found by the 2019 National Cannabis Survey, edible cannabis products in Canada are already popular with 27 per cent of respondents who had used cannabis in the past three months had consumed edible forms.

CMAJ also noted that the two populations at high risk of harm from cannabis edibles are children and older adults.

Children (and pets) are at risk of accidental ingestion and overconsumption of cannabis, as many edibles can resemble candy or other food and drink.

After legalisation of cannabis edibles in Colorado, the state poison control centre saw a 70 per cent increase in calls for accidental cannabis exposure in children from 2013 to 2017.

"Among older adults, cannabis consumption, including the use of edibles, has been linked to greater cognitive impairment and a heightened risk of hypotension related falls, arrhythmia and drug interactions," the report says.

Longer term use of edibles has also been associated with increased risks such as panic attacks, psychosis and hyperemesis syndrome, a condition that leads to repeated, severe vomiting.

Further reading: More teens are regularly using marijuana by vaping

Further reading: Digital payments service launched for California cannabis market

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