Harm reduction information for cannabis edible products
Cannabis can be taken in different ways by smoking, eating or drinking in herbal tea. It can also come as oils or as concentrates such as 'shatter'.
Cannabis ‘edibles’ are food products infused with cannabis. Edibles come in many forms—including cakes, sweets, ’gummy bears’, 'cannabis gummies' chocolates and lozenges. They have many different names that include 'Space cakes', 'Gummies', 'THC sweets' 'Edibles', 'THC Lean'. Learn more about edibles here.
It’s safer not to use at all and you can never be fully sure how you will react to substances.
If you choose to use edibles see below advice to reduce the harms.
- Think about the ‘set’ and ‘setting’: think about how you’re feeling in regards to your mental health and where you are using
- Avoid using if you are feeling low, anxious, depressed or have mental health concerns
- Use in a safe setting with people you trust
- Think about your tolerance to the substance and how much you plan to take, especially if you don’t regularly use cannabis.
- You can’t be sure of the dose labelled on the products
- For some people, the effects of edible cannabis can be more intense/potent than inhaling a similar dose of cannabis. This is due to how the liver processes THC when eaten compared to smoking cannabis.
- You may not know the strain of cannabis in the product or how it was prepared
- Start low and go slow – it could be easy to take too much without knowing. Don’t immediately consume the full product
- Avoid taking more ‘re-dosing’ – the effects can take some time to kick in, over 2 hours in some cases. Wait until you feel the effects to gauge how you are feeling
- Don’t use with other substances
- The effects can last much longer than smoking, in some cases up to 12 hours
- Don’t drive after consuming
- Store products safely to avoid unintentional consumption
- Don't be afraid to get medical help if you or a friend become unwell or feel suicidal after using
Although taking too much may not be fatal, it can cause paranoia, anxiety, vomiting, nausea, delusions or hallucinations which can frightening or lead to accidental injury.
Image source: The Global Drugs Survey
For information about cannabis, download the Cannabis and You resource