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Are all cannabis edibles the same? Do some not get you stoned?

“Are all cannabis edibles the same? A friend told me that some don’t get you stoned – why would someone use them if they didn’t give you that effect?”

Your friend is correct – not all cannabis edibles are the same. Edibles are food products that contain one or more of the chemical compounds found in cannabis (known as cannabinoids). In the past edibles were usually homemade (the most popular of  these being ‘hash brownies’) but since cannabis was legalised in some parts of the US and other parts of the world, these products are now mass produced and commercially available. They come in many different forms, with some of the most popular being lollies (such as gummy bears), chocolates and cookies.

Many countries across the world have now also made cannabis legally available for medicinal use. One of the greatest harms associated with cannabis use is the increased risk of lung damage and respiratory problems linked to smoking the drug. Due to those risks, those who wished to use the drug, particularly those who use it medicinally, wanted an alternative route of administration. Edibles allow a person to experience the effects of cannabis while avoiding those potential smoking harms.

Therefore there are essentially two main types of cannabis edibles:

  • THC edibles (THC is the major psychoactive component of cannabis, i.e., it gets you ‘stoned’)
  • CBD edibles (CBD is a non-intoxicating compound found in cannabis that does not give the user a ‘high’).

Not surprisingly, THC edibles are usually used by people who want to get intoxicated or stoned. CBD edibles, on the other hand, are more likely to be used by those interested in the medicinal benefits of cannabis but do not want to get stoned. CBD has been found to have a range of beneficial properties and is potentially useful in managing a range of medical conditions, including seizures and pain.

First published: May 2020

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