Ask Doctor Lyn
Written by: Safiya Lyn-Lassiter, M.D.
Edited by: Jamila Lyn
September 28, 2018
3 Tips to Help Get Through a “Bad Edibles Trip”:
Due to a lack of proper education, reckless behavior, or perhaps purely by accident, it is very easy to abuse edibles, which may result in that “my life is about to END” feeling. I’m here to help you get through this potentially agonizing experience. You should start by making sure you’re informed about proper dosages. Always approach marijuana, and especially edibles, with caution.
1) BREATH – you are NOT dying!
THC, the psychoactive compound in marijuana, can not kill you. According to National Cancer Institute, “Cannabinoid receptors, unlike opioid receptors, are not located in the brainstem areas controlling reception, lethal doses from cannabis and cannabinoids do not occur.” However, there may be enough THC to create a traumatic experience. That actual dose is variable per person and their history of cannabis use. Edibles come in all forms; each one has a different THC concentration and recommended dosage. Cannabis infused candy bars or brownies are often made with a higher concentration of THC. Side effects include rapid heart rate, heavy breathing, dry mouth, red eyes, slower reaction times and severe paranoia/anxiety. In the most extreme cases, THC has triggered episodes of erratic behavior, dissociation, depersonalization and even psychosis. If this is your response, don’t worry, THC can not kill you.
2) This too shall pass (but this may take a while).
While the effects of smoking marijuana can usually be felt immediately, eating cannabis-infused food can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours to take effect, depending on the dose and the person’s tolerance level. This delay may lead people to believe the drug is ineffective or it’s “not working.” Therefore, they ingest more, causing them to take too high of an initial dose, or take too much in a short period of time. “Tripping out” includes symptoms of panic, anxiety or perhaps worse. This uncomfortable sensation could last 6-10 hours, depending on how much THC you’ve ingested. You have to let it pass with time. The Emergency Department can NOT help the symptoms to pass faster. But, they can offer supportive management like IV fluids, anti-nausea medicine, benadryl to calm the itching or warm sensation, anti-anxiolytics, supplemental oxygen and reassurance.
3) “Marijuana Hangover”
Once the high wears off, you may feel some residual effects which include fatigue, sluggish, anxiety and in some cases, a feeling that you are still high. These sensations can last several hours after the most intense part of the high has worn off, but some people continue to feel the effects days later.
In conclusion, if you are taking edibles for the first time, proceed with caution. I recommend starting with 10 mg THC as a single serving for an adult. For somebody who has never had an edible before start with less. After the first dose, wait at least 1-1.5 hours, to determine if you feel any effects. If it has not kicked in by now, then you can decide if you want to ingest more or not. Remember an edible high lasts longer (4-12 hours) than a vaping high (2-3 hours).