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Most people have probably heard of “special brownies,” the term used to describe cannabis-infused brownies that, when ingested, provide euphoric effects similar to the effects of smoking marijuana.

Cannabis brownies are typically known as the most common form of edible marijuana products, often referred to simply as “edibles.”

Edibles are appealing to individuals who want to use marijuana without having to smoke it and may coerce more people to use marijuana who otherwise would not.

As recreational and medical marijuana legalization sweeps across the nation, edibles are becoming more and more popular and come in many different forms, including:


Other Baked Goods

Chocolate Bars

Gummy Bears


Hard Candy

Capsules/THC Pills

With the wider availability and variety of edibles, use is steadily increasing, particularly in states with legal recreational marijuana.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, edible marijuana products make up about 45 percent of marijuana sales in Colorado, the first state to legalize recreational marijuana.

Although the two methods of administration cause similar effects, ingesting edibles often creates more intense effects than smoking marijuana.

The absorption rate of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the euphoria-producing cannabinoid in marijuana, is much slower when marijuana is ingested rather than smoked.

Therefore the onset of the high takes much longer — anywhere from 30 minutes to hours after the initial ingestion and usually lasting longer than when marijuana is smoked.

Because of the potency and high doses of THC in them, edible products present higher risks of negative effects for marijuana users. Many first-time and inexperienced edible users, unaware of the how long it takes to feel edible effects, ingest too much or multiple doses after feeling no marijuana effects immediately after the initial ingestion.

The most common negative effects felt by edible users include:



Brief Psychosis

Cardiovascular issues



According to Monitoring the Future, a survey conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan that monitors youth substance use in the United States, marijuana is the most widely used illicit drug among teens, with nearly 35 percent of 12th graders reporting marijuana use at least once within the last year.

Some researchers expect this number to rise in the coming years, as the number of teens who view marijuana use as harmful has dramatically decreased since 2005.

While recreational supporters argue that people cannot overdose on marijuana, the dangers of edible marijuana were clearly evident in March 2014, when 19-year- old Levy Thamba Pongi ingested 65 mg of THC in a cannabis cookie, six times the suggested dose of 10 mg.

Afterward, Pongi began acting erratically, and about two and a half hours later, Pongi died from jumping off the fourth floor balcony of his building.

According to a CDC report, toxicity analysis showed that the marijuana levels in Pongi’s system were dangerously high and very likely played a role in his death.

Since Pongi’s death, the CDC has reiterated to the public that edibles can lead to unwanted consequences.

“Consuming a large dose of THC can result in a higher THC concentration, greater intoxication, and an increased risk for adverse psychological effects,” the CDC said in the report.

Educating teens on the realities and risks of marijuana edibles is important for their personal safety. Marijuana use is prevalent amongst teens, and therefore arming American youth with the proper knowledge about edible marijuana is critical to avoid negative consequences associated with something that may seem as harmless as eating a gummy bear or cookie.

Trey Dyer is fisherman, dog lover, and the brother of recovering drug addict. Trey writes for, drawing on his family’s experience with addiction to help others. He has been writing professionally since 2012.

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