Today, edibles are a popular way to consume cannabis products. Just like smoking or vaping marijuana, edibles pose many risks to teens. Some edibles contain THC or CBD. THC and CBD are both cannabinoids found in marijuana, but they are different from each other. Edibles that contain THC can make a person high. However, a person cannot become high off of CBD edibles. People usually consume CBD edibles in hopes of improving their health.
Still, they both affect the body.
What Are Edibles?
Edibles are food items, usually sweet treats, made from or containing cannabis. Some edibles contain either THC or CBD. Since THC edibles are still drugs, they can be extremely harmful if used chronically – especially since they have addictive qualities. These edible treats usually look like ordinary treats such as cookies, brownies, and other baked goods. Yet, unlike ordinary treats, marijuana edibles contain higher levels of THC.
What Is THC?
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is a substance found in the cannabis plant that has a psychoactive impact on the people who consume it. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), THC’s chemical structure mimics the brain’s chemical anandamide, neurotransmitters that influence thinking, memory, pleasure, coordination, and time perception. Because of this, the body accepts and allows THC to alter one’s mind. This component makes one feel high or euphoric from using cannabis products like edibles or marijuana.
Subsequently, when a person consumes THC, the chemical attaches itself to the already present cannabinoid receptors in the brain. The now attached THC alters the user’s memory, thinking, concentration, and coordination while also activating the brain’s reward system, which ultimately increases dopamine levels. The hormone dopamine drives the urge to repeat rewarding and pleasurable behaviors making marijuana addictive.
What Are the Risks of Using THC Edibles?
THC edibles can lead to dependence, psychosis, and other health risks. For example, people who are sensitive to the psychoactive properties of THC may experience intense feelings of anxiety or paranoia. Additionally, people with mental health issues like schizophrenia may become agitated and violent after consuming THC edibles. Other THC risks include:
- Impairing motor skills and concentration for up to three hours after consumption.
- Diminishing motor functions such as walking, driving a vehicle, or performing routine tasks.
- Adolescent users of THC may perform worse on cognitive tests.
- Continued use of THC may cause a SUD to marijuana or more potent substances.
- THC use lowers IQ, memory, and cognition, especially in adolescents.
- THC can adversely interact with other drugs or certain medications.
- Heart problems due to rhythm irregularities.
- May aggravate symptoms of trauma, depression, and anxiety.
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a chemical compound derived from the cannabis plant. It does not cause a high but may treat various ailments. Unlike marijuana’s cannabinoid, THC, CBD does not produce psychoactive effects. While marijuana use can lead to dependence, current research suggests that CBD is not addictive. This is likely because CBD lacks the properties common to other cannabinoids such as THC.
Unlike THC, CBD does not bind to the cannabinoid receptors in the brain. Instead, CBD impacts the endocannabinoid system by activating the serotonin and adenosine receptors. Subsequently, people with seizure disorders, chronic pain, anxiety disorders, and many other ailments turn to CBD edibles like hemp oil, hemp powder, gummies, and cookies to treat their pain or anxiety.
What Are the Risks of Using CBD Edibles?
CBD doesn’t hold as many dangers as THC. However, it is important to monitor the frequency and amount of consumption. You should also consider the means and process of manufacturing and harvesting hemp or CBD. The FDA has not required manufacturers of CBD hemp oil or edible products to prove that they are safe or effective.
Side effects of CBD may include dry mouth, lightheadedness, drowsiness, and in some cases, liver injury.
Signs Teens Are Using THC Edibles
There are a few signs that your teenager is using THC edibles. Though teens may try to conceal THC use in sweet edibles like candy or cake, the chemical will impact your teen’s behavior. Fundamental behavioral changes include:
- Unexplained presence of intense emotions like anxiety, agitation, or euphoria.
- Isolation from loved ones in an attempt to hide their THC use.
- Developing or exacerbating mental health issues.
Finding Treatment for THC Substance Use Disorder
If your teen’s cravings for THC or CBD interfere with their daily life, it’s time to seek help. At Clearfork Academy, we offer support for those struggling with all forms of SUD—including those involving marijuana edibles. We provide adventure therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, medical detoxes, and a supportive environment to help your child.
The use of edibles may be legal in some areas, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any harmful effects associated with them. As more states continue to legalize marijuana, edibles will grow in popularity. Yet, they can damage a teen’s health and cause addiction. The long-term effects of marijuana edibles aren’t entirely known, but studies have proven that the drug negatively impacts cognitive function and brain development in adolescents. THC found in edibles can also trigger psychotic symptoms in young people. Unfortunately, many teenagers who use edibles develop cravings for THC or CBD. Such cravings can interfere with their daily lives, having adverse effects on their physical or mental health. If your teen is experiencing problems with these cannabinoid products, it’s time to seek help. At Clearfork Academy, we offer support programs for all types of addiction, including marijuana edibles. To find out more about our treatment programs, contact our admissions team at (888) 966-8604.