Why Edibles are Causing ER Visits To Spike Around the Country
In the news cycle recently, there have been several headlines that read something along the line of, “Denver Hospital Find Spike in ER Visits from Cannabis”. This is of course is something that the anti-cannabis crowd loves to cite. They will point out that since cannabis has been legalized, more people are going to the hospital due to ‘overdosing’. However, this can be misleading.
If you see a headline like that, people assume that cannabis in general is leading people to go to the ER. Most people, when they think of cannabis consumption, imagine someone smoking or vaping. This is not accurate. In fact, according to the same study by the Denver Hospital, they found that the vast majority of people visiting the ER is due to Edibles. Not smoking or vaping weed.
This is an important distinction to make. Especially since painting the stats with a broad brush doesn’t help people in preventing a visit to the ER. What is important however is that we properly educate new users on the effects of edibles.
Let me explain why Edibles could send you to the ER (only if you’re a moron).
Why Edibles are so much more POTENT!
The first thing you have to understand is the mechanisms behind how your body processes THC. THCa or Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid is the psychoactive cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant. However, THC only becomes psychoactive once it is heated and converted to delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol. Within the acid form, you will never get high.
When you smoke weed or vaporizer it, you’re applying heat and this converts it to its psychoactive state. Most people handle delta-9-THC pretty well. High concentrations can cause some anxiety but usually with some food or water, or simply deep breathing…you can control that.
The problem comes when THC is eaten. The liver converts the THC into a different much more potent form of THC known as 11-Hydroxy-Tetrahydrocannabinol. It is believed to be 10 times more potent than smoked THC.
Additionally, the onset of edibles can take up to 1 hour. This is most probably the key element as to why people ‘overdose’. They eat an edible, wait for 45 mins to an hour and say, “This shit ain’t hitting me”. And so, they take another edible.
Except, now the first edible kicks in and suddenly you start feeling high. Roughly an hour later, the second edible hits and this is where people start to panic.
Have you ever hallucinated on weed?
For those of you who have never had the daunting experience of cannabis-induced hallucinations, it’s not a mild trip. It can be very intense.
In my personal story, this has only happened to me once or twice. The combination of Munchies, lack of any other snacks and a tray of cannabis-edibles led me to eat 16 brownies in one night. Needless to say, the hammer of Thor smacked me upside the head and laid me on my back for over 12 hours.
During this time, I had hallucinations, could hardly move and felt waves of THC run all over my body and mind. As an experienced Psychonaut, I know what to do when I’m deep in the hole. I know how to breathe correctly and relax, and I simply ride it out.
People who are new to cannabis might not have this insight. These heightened altered states can cause panic. People see crazy shit like demons and black holes sucking them in. This was the case of my mother who ate one too many brownies one night.
Fortunately, she had us to sit and guide her through the experience.
What to do when you’re tripping balls!
Even though you might feel like you’re going to die…you’re not. It’s nearly impossible to have a fatal overdose with cannabis. This doesn’t mean that the feeling isn’t there, but this snippet of truth can be the difference between rushing to the ER and simply riding it out.
So what do you do when you’re tripping on 11-Hydro-THC?
Firstly, find a quiet and dark-ish place to get comfortable. You need to have water and perhaps a snack or two on hand for easy access. You’re not going to be very mobile.
The next thing is to make yourself comfortable, perhaps put a small fan blowing some air on you and breathing. Take long deep breaths.
I personally like the 4-2-8 breathing technique. Inhale slowly for four seconds, hold for two, and breathe out for eight. Just focus on this pattern throughout the experience and you’ll notice your mind starts chilling out.
The last thing you’ll need to understand is that once the THC is processed, you’ll be fine. Though the experience may be daunting, it’s not going to end you.
Finally, having some CBD on hand can also help. CBD acts as a counter-weight to THC, so vaping some CBD will help you relax and reduce the sensation you’re experiencing.
What can we learn from the Denver Stats?
One thing is certain, more people will be trying cannabis for the first time than ever before in history. This means that people are unaware of the heavy doses of cannabis edibles. We need proper education on it, proper instructions on the packages and to teach people how to “ride the snake” effectively.
Just know, you’re not going to die. It’s going to be okay. Don’t become a statistic.