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HSE Update on Cannabis Edible Products October 2021

About cannabis edibles

Cannabis can be taken in different ways by smoking, eating or drinking in herbal tea. It can also come in oil format or as ‘butane hash oil’. Learn more here

Cannabis ‘edibles’ are food products infused with cannabis. Edibles come in many forms—including baked goods, sweets, ’gummy bears’, 'cannabis gummies' chocolates and lozenges.

Food products containing cannabis extract have been available internationally in locations such as the Netherlands as cakes sold in coffee shops or in situations where a cannabis consumer independently prepares cannabis for cooking.More recently, food products containing cannabis extract have emerged as products sold as part of the legalised market in Northern America and are not legalised in an Irish context. Evidence from Canada shows there is a risk of accidental exposure among children. 

The amount of THC in edibles can vary across a single product and across batches made at different times, making it difficult a person to estimate how much THC they consume and how they react.

Any products seized in Ireland have not been subjected to quantitative analysis, meaning we are are unsure of the amount of THC contained in products and if the packaging correctly shows the dose/strength.

Why consuming edibles is different to smoking cannabis 

  • Each person will react differently to a substance. People may have a different experience if they use cannabis edibles compared to smoking.Learn more about cannabis, the effects and risks here.
  • A person will not feel the effects immediately. In some cases it could take over two hours before the peak effects are felt.
  • Effects can last longer, over a number of hours compared to inhalation. In some cases, we have seen people experencing prolonged hallucinations.
  • The effects from ingestion will last longer and can range from 4 – 12 hours.
  • It is harder for a person to know an accurate dose or gauge how they will react compared to inhaling. People may easily consume too much THC without knowing until the effects are felt some time later. This can increase the risks.
  • More potent effects will be felt from eating cannabis due to how the body processes THC in the liver.

Risk of synthetic cannabinoids appearing in edible products 

  • We are currently concerned about the contents of edible products. While they come in branded packaging, we are aware that products can come from clandestine laboratories. This means you can’t trust the contents or potency.
  • Extra risky substances known as ‘synthetic cannabinoids’ have been identified in edible products in Ireland. These substances can cause poisoning, seizures and death. Learn more here.
  • A warning was issued recently by Swedish Authorities in relation to a synthetic cannabinoid also identified in jellies, similar to Ireland. Learn more here.

Learn more 

See our content on cannabis edibles here.

See our harm reduction for people who choose to use cannabis edibles here.

Posted by on 10/21 at 10:15 AM in
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