Many moons ago in the late 1970’s, the Campbell Mithun advertising agency came up with a great little jingle about the wonder of eggs. Years later, many are still humming that short ditty about “The Incredible Edible Egg” because frankly, it works!
Perhaps eggs need a little more PR than cannabis, but that jingle says volumes about edible marijuana, too. You see, a lot of us hear about marijuana or pot and think about sitting in a peaceful haze with a munchie chaser. For individuals who live with excruciating pain, be it chronic, temporary, or terminal, marijuana offers far more than a buzz or a high. Within those green leaves, for many, lay real pain relief.
Medicinal marijuana can be consumed in a variety of forms, which is particularly helpful for those who can not smoke or use even the best vaporizer. Patients on oxygen, for example, can not take the risk of lighting a joint near their oxygen tanks, while others may not have the lung capacity to inhale and exhale. Patients with oral cancers that have affected their lips may also have a challenging time smoking or vaping.
It is for these reasons and more, that edible cannabis was created. Products that are infused with medical marijuana make ingesting pain relief a whole lot easier for many. Edible forms of cannabis can be placed in foods, drinks, candies, pills, and other highly discreet products. Additionally, pain management in this form is a far more socially acceptable if you are, let’s say, at work, than lighting up!
The benefits of being able to put cannabis into different types of food products are twofold. Depending on what the ground leaves are placed in, they will either be absorbed through the gastrointestinal system or orally. Foods such as brownies or mashed potatoes are digested within the GI system and though it takes longer to metabolize this way, the effects are longer lasting. Oral edibles such as candies or lollipops are absorbed into the body at a quicker rate, but the effects tend to wear off sooner. The difference in these methods can be worked into a patient’s medication regimen in order to maximize the desired effects of all of their prescriptions in combination.
While everything we put into our bodies has a side effect, there seem to be few lasting or contradictory effects of edible cannabis on record. The problems that have been encountered should be noted however, in the interest of best practices and marketing integrity. The challenges most commonly seen with this product include getting the potency and dosing right. This issue however stems from the fact that at this point in time, there are no Federal Drug Administration regulations that inform or control the processing of marijuana. Without an overarching standard by which the industry is bound, manufacturers on the street and in the lab can essentially do what they want, leading to inconsistent dosing. It is for these very reasons that edible cannabis, or any medical cannabis for that matter, should be purchased from a dispensary or pharmacy that specializes in its production. Some regulation is clearly better than none.
Other things to consider? Children’s access. Truth be told, and this should certainly go without saying though we know it needs to be said, any and all medications should be kept out of the inquisitive hands of children, no matter what. In fact, edible cannabis should be put away and out of the reach of inquisitive teen hands, too! Consuming too much can induce hallucinations and some rather problematic psychiatric issues, so if you are using dosed, edible, somewhat regulated cannabis, make sure no one in your circle is helping themselves to it.
So yes, there are concerns about edible cannabis, but realistically, there are concerns about everything we use as medication, prescribed or otherwise. The United States is currently in the throes of what some are calling the worst opioid epidemic the country has faced in its history. Oftentimes, prescription opioids are used to treat chronic pain, and later replaced by far cheaper, illicit street drugs to achieve the same relief. The Centers for Disease Control report that the numbers of deaths related to overdoses of opioids of all kinds are going up. While there simply cannot be an “all or nothing” approach to pain management, the use of medicinal marijuana and edible cannabis seem like a really good place to start.
Anecdotal uses and misuses of edible cannabis make for great television jokes, pot laced brownies and all. The reality is that one man’s recreational brownie could quite easily be another’s pain relief. And while yes, those sitcom scenes of actors overdoing the munchies can be quite comical, the management of pain symptoms is no laughing matter. Although, being able to crack a smile because of a pain respite. is indeed something to rejoice.