Edibles are food products containing cannabis, which have gained popularity as a delivery method for both medicinal and recreational use. These products come in various forms such as baked goods, candies, chocolates, and beverages. They can either be purchased readymade or made at home using oils, butters, brownies, or ice creams. Edibles are viewed as a safe and discreet alternative to smoking, as they do not attract attention. However, it is important to be aware of the associated risks.

When it comes to the health benefits of edibles, they typically provide the same benefits as other forms of cannabis. People ingest them to achieve certain effects, such as relaxation or to treat medical conditions, such as chronic pain. The effects of edibles depend on the dose a person takes, and typically, the effects increase as the dose increases. However, consuming too much cannabis through edibles is easy to do, and it can cause adverse effects, such as nausea and vomiting.

Some of the beneficial effects of cannabis edibles include relaxation and anxiety relief. Cannabis contains a compound called tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the chemical responsible for the psychoactive effects of edibles and other forms of cannabis. An older study suggests that THC can cause feelings of relaxation and euphoria. Additionally, cannabis contains the compound cannabidiol (CBD), which has anti-anxiety effects. A 2019 study reports that more than 79% of people with anxiety or sleep problems who took CBD experienced a decrease in anxiety over the course of the study. Another study on teenagers with social anxiety supports the findings of CBD significantly decreasing anxiety levels.

CBD may also work as a pain reliever, as well as having anti-inflammatory properties, making it a popular treatment among those who experience chronic pain. Research suggests that medical cannabis patients with chronic pain report improved pain management when they consume cannabis products. Conditions that people treat with edibles and other forms of medicinal cannabis include arthritis, cancer pain, fibromyalgia, and neuropathic pain.

Doctors may also recommend medicinal cannabis for muscle spasm treatment. Research from 2013 indicates that people experience significant improvement in muscle spasticity and other types of pain when they take cannabis. An oral preparation derived from cannabis is available to treat muscle spasticity and pain. Other forms of edibles may have similar effects, although research in this area is lacking.

CBD has also demonstrated antiseizure effects, which suggests it could be a potential treatment for epilepsy. A 2017 study cites evidence for the use of CBD to improve seizure control in those with specific epilepsy syndromes. Edibles may be one way to ingest cannabis to reduce seizures, but more research is necessary before people with epilepsy consider treating the condition with cannabis.

Edible cannabis products may also treat other health issues, such as appetite loss and weight loss for those who have cancer. However, it is important to note that while edibles are a discreet and tasty way to consume cannabis, they are not without risk.

Potential side effects and risks of edibles include adverse health effects. Research indicates that regular cannabis use can have adverse impacts on brain development, heart health, memory and cognition, and psychiatric health. Long-term cannabis use may be especially worrisome in adolescents, where it may increase the risk of schizophrenia as well as learning and memory.

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