Are Edibles Dangerous? How to Enjoy Edibles Responsibly

edibles risks
By Andrew Ward Updated March 8th

The popularity of edibles is raising a reasonable degree of worry from many consumers. Edibles have a reputation for hitting hard and in higher doses than often expected. Their staggering reputation has led some to consider edibles dangerous. Indeed, edibles hit hard and can sometimes be overwhelming for consumers. But, with knowledge comes an understanding of what you're getting into.

In this article, we look at the potential dangers and risks of edibles, and how you can enjoy them safely and responsibly.

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What Are Edibles?

Edibles are a broad category of cannabis with a wide range of choices. Any food or beverage infused with cannabinoids, including but not limited to THC and CBD, falls into the category. 

Ranging from macro to microdosed, edibles come in numerous consumption forms, onset times, flavors, consistencies and much more. Brands are only available in certain states, depending on the state’s laws. For example, some of the top-selling brands in California include WYLD and Kiva.

Edibles can be produced from various types of cannabis products, like decarboxylated flower, distillate, extracts, oils, and just about any other product containing cannabinoids. Each process claims to have the winning benefits. Some boast a more reliable production process, while others are favored for their ability to mask the taste of cannabis.

Risks Associated With Edibles

edibles risks

Edibles can definitely hit harder and last longer than other options. To make things more complicated, you can feel the effects of an edible anywhere between 30 to 120 minutes after consuming it, and sometimes, not at all of the dosage needs to be corrected. On the other hand, consuming too much or too high of a dosage can have the opposite of the desired effect. Think of it like how a glass of wine might take the edge off, but having one to two bottles and a couple of shots is unsafe.

It’s always best to know the benefits and risks of each type of edible. Because when you know the facts, you put yourself in the position to do what's best for you. 


Edibles are incredible, but the experience isn’t exactly like smoking. Eating too many edibles in one sitting can cause less-than-desirable effects. This is a caution for all consumers, but it’s especially important for the beginners and folks with sensitive tolerances to THC. Sometimes, people consume too much cannabis, often because they don't understand the dosage or its effects. Some of the common signs of overconsumption include anxiety, nausea and vomiting. 

Or, you could end up like how comedian Jason Mantzoukas turned out in his hilarious yet cautionary tale about eating too many edibles as a newcomer. 

Overconsumption can come in one serving if your dosage is substantial. But, more likely, it’ll come from eating more doses than you need. 

Delayed onset

This one is one of the primary reasons why smoking and edibles are different experiences. Onset time is a fancier way of saying how long it takes to feel the cannabis’ effects. For decades, the prolonged onset of edibles has led to many people over-consuming because they thought the first dose didn't deliver its effects. 

Don't make the same mistake as your cannabis-consuming elders have. Instead, embrace the start low, go slow method. The process is straightforward enough; start with a small amount – typically, 5 mg or less is a good place to start – and work your way up after you’ve built up a tolerance. 

No matter how long you’ve enjoyed cannabis, check the dosage of your edibles before consuming them. You might need to break some in half for quarters to find the proper dosage. Then, wait anywhere between 30 to 60 minutes and see if you feel the desired effects. Consider waiting up to 120 minutes with edibles, if you're particularly cautious about overconsuming. If you need a second round, repeat the dosage and see how you feel again in the same time frame. 

Interactions with medication

Cannabis can lead to adverse reactions with other medications you're using. Some prescribed medications have been reported to have been negatively affected by cannabis. Broadly speaking, cannabis has been reported to affect a wide variety of common drugs, including but not limited to:

In some cases, cannabis has been reported to affect how medications are processed by the body. Adverse effects can include increased drowsiness and anxiety levels, altered blood pressure, and reduced serotonin uptake leading to symptoms of serotonin syndrome. Patients are strongly advised to consult with a medical professional before mixing cannabis with any prescribed medications or other supplements.

Benefits Of Edibles

benefits of edibles

There are numerous reported advantages to using edibles, including:

  • No throat irritation, like smoking can cause
  • Different kind of high or consumption experience
  • Stronger effects
  • Longer lasting effects
  • Easier to make at home than growing or extracting

There are plenty of reasons people turn to edibles over other cannabis products. Those common benefits listed below make a compelling case to give edibles a try.:

Discreet consumption

The smell of cannabis isn’t always welcome for one reason or another. Instead, edibles are ideal for discreet aromaless consumption. 

The lack of tell-tale cannabis odor can be beneficial both in the home and in public, where the strong aroma can sometimes upset partners, family members, or members of the general public. Microdosed edibles also allow consumers to enjoy cannabis throughout the day without worrying about feeling or appearing intoxicated.

Longer-lasting effects

Edibles last longer than smoked or vaped cannabis because of the way they’re metabolized in the body. Rather than passing through the lungs and into the bloodstream within a few seconds, edibles are processed via the digestive system. 

The way edibles are processed depends on the amount of food in the body and the metabolism levels of each consumer. This makes many feel the effects are more substantial than with smoked cannabis. Newcomers may want to keep this in mind and avoid eating edibles too late or risk waking up with a relatively strong high.

Alternative to smoking

Most people want to avoid unhealthy habits. Smoking is one of the most common culprits in getting the ax. Smoke threatens lung and throat safety and causes other health concerns, leading many to give up tobacco and possibly even cannabis. 

Edibles are one of the many alternatives to eliminate smoke from the process. Other popular options include vapes, tinctures, and topicals.

Potential medical benefits

Edibles helped spark the medical cannabis movement when brownies became a go-to treatment for many in the Bay Area's HIV/AIDS and cancer communities. The reported benefits of edibles have only grown in the years since. Today, anecdotes and lab studies alike have examined the various potential benefits edibles can have on anxiety, depression, chronic pain, and many other mental and physical symptoms.

Onset time is becoming less of a concern thanks to developments in the extraction and production processes that have reduced wait times in certain products to just a few minutes. Still, newcomers may want to continue practicing the start low, go slow method to avoid over-consuming. 

How To Consume Edibles Safely

are edibles dangerous

There's no need to be overwhelmed by edibles. Check out the following tips on safe edible consumption when starting out:

Start low and go slow

We broke down the steps above, so double-check those if you need to. The start low, go slow method is the best way to avoid overconsumption while giving you as much control over the effects as possible.

Be aware of the different effects between edibles and smoking

We touched on how smoking and edible cannabis consumption options vary in onset time and effects. In addition to knowing the difference between edibles and smoking, it would be helpful to understand more about each item. Learn about the strain you're smoking, the dosage and the onset time of your edibles. 

And remember, the best way to consume cannabis is whichever method works best for you.

Understand the laws and regulations surrounding edibles

Since America doesn't have federally legalized cannabis, each state is left to make its own rules regarding the marketplace. Laws vary across state lines, including what products are offered, allowable doses, and even packaging requirements. It helps to understand the legal status of cannabis and other important marketplace rules in your state or whenever visiting another legal market. Reading up on the guidelines will help you know what you can buy legally, how much you're allowed to have on hand, and other vital details.

Dosage and labeling

You should always check the details of an item before consuming it, cannabis or otherwise. Checking labels for expiration dates and ingredients is essential to your wellness and your overall experience with the product. This rule is helpful for recreational consumers but critical for medical patients who rely on precise doses of cannabis and other medicines.

Proper dosage is also essential when making edibles at home. Your edibles can become wildly different without all the numbers and details factored in. Avoid under or over-dosed edibles by using an edibles calculator for a consistent quantity every time.

Store edibles securely

Like just about every cannabis product ever, your edibles are most likely to stay their freshest when stored in a cool, dark place where exposure to UV light and other elements is minimized. Remember that edibles will vary in storage needs depending on the product. You will need to refrigerate certain drinks and foods, while others can get by with being stored in a Rubbermaid or Pyrex container in the cabinet.

Parents and pet owners must also ensure that their products are stored safely and far away from the little ones, be they two-legged or four-legged varieties. Ideally, keep your edibles in a locked space that only you and other adults can access.

Have a Support System

Almost every cannabis consumer has felt too intoxicated at times, and not everyone has a built-in support system at home to help them process their experience with medical marijuana if they feel anxious or overwhelmed. Fireside Project began its Psychedelic Peer Support Line to provide help to individuals during and after a psychedelic experience. And through their Equity Project, callers who are military veterans or who identify as BIPOC or transgender are able to connect with a support line volunteer who shares that aspect of their identity.

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Final Thoughts 

Some degree of caution should be exercised when first using edibles or whenever consuming high-dose options. Still, understanding how edibles work and how they affect our bodies uniquely can help demystify them. With proper understanding and the correct approach taken, edibles can be just as enjoyable as any other consumption option. They may even be more satisfying to some consumers, especially those seeking longer-lasting effects, a smokeless experience, or various other benefits for medical or recreational consumers.

Keep learning more about edibles by following the NuggMD blog. And feel free to reach out to our team anytime. Will be happy to put you in touch with a medical professional in your state who can get you all the information you need.

The information in this article and any included images or charts are for educational purposes only. This information is neither a substitute for, nor does it replace, professional legal advice or medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about laws, regulations, or your health, you should always consult with an attorney, physician or other licensed professional.

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