With medical marijuana now legal in 20 states and recreational marijuana use legalized in some, edible marijuana is becoming more and more popular. Users are cooking up everything from pot brownies to cannabis-infused salsa.
While smoking marijuana gets the THC, the chemical component that creates the high, into the body much faster, eating marijuana keeps the THC in the body much longer.
Eating marijuana goes through the stomach and ends up metabolized by the liver. Creating an altered form of THC that passes through the blood-brain barrier much easier than regular THC absorbed through smoking. Further, smoking marijuana does not pass through the liver and doesn’t create the same effect.
While smoking marijuana produces intoxicating effects almost immediately, users are able to control and regulate the dosage they take in. When eating marijuana, the effects are not felt until later. Sometimes up to an hour—after ingesting. This can cause the users to underestimate the strength of what they ingested, and result in overindulging.
In these cases, accidental marijuana poisoning can occur. Resulting in symptoms ranging from disorientation, difficulty walking, extreme sleepiness, incoherence, non-responsiveness, and respiratory distress.