What is the Truth Behind Cannabis Edibles Safety and Why are Edibles Dangerous? – LPC

Health Canada's cannabis edibles safety measures fall in line with doctor recommendations.Dr. Peter Grinspoon lays out the basics of good cannabis edibles safety in a recent Harvard Health Blog post. He takes a rather conservative approach to edibles, saying that anything that can be used as medicine should be labelled as medicine. But his commentary does provide insights into why Canada is being so cautious before legalizing cannabis edibles.

Part of the problem, Dr. Grinspoon says, is that there isn’t enough solid evidence about edibles. Without hard numbers, cannabis edibles safety should err on the side of caution, from a medical standpoint. However, he personally believes that there is enough anecdotal information about medical events such as emergency department visits to be concerned.

“Personally, I believe the premise that ED visits are up for cannabis,” he said. This is “in part because of the availability of edibles, and because of the many anecdotal stories I have heard through lifelong involvement with this issue.”

Dr. Grinspoon also says that many cases are a result of someone unknowingly eating an unmarked edible. “This should never happen. By leaving a medicated but unmarked edible lying around, you put someone else’s well-being at risk.” The biggest risk seems to be panic attacks. People don’t know there is THC in the item, and they don’t understand what is happening. “What if that person tried to drive? Then even someone else could have been harmed.”

Cannabis edibles safety then means clearly labelling packages. “Cannabis-infused barbecue sauce, pizza, honey, etc.” are too dangerous in terms of accidentally using them, he said. They shouldn’t be marketed or sold as regular consumer goods.

Does Health Canada’s Plan Address These Issues? – LPC

Dr. Grinspoon said that the biggest argument people use to justify edibles is being “a responsible adult”. However, he rejects this as a good cannabis edibles safety measure. “After practicing as a primary care doctor for 25 years, I can say with confidence: not all adults act like responsible adults. Also, even responsible adults can make mistakes.”

Health Canada’s approach to cannabis edibles safety isn’t likely to be exactly like treating edibles as medicine. But it sheds some light on why the agency insists on plain packaging and disallows marketing – just as with any cannabis product. Health Canada released proposed cannabis edibles regulations last December. To no one’s surprise, that included plain packaging.

Still, Dr. Grinspoon says, “If it can be used as a medicine, make it look like a pill.” That might be taking it a bit too far. After all, in the right circumstances, ginger ale, honey, and even water can be “used” as medicine. But it does seem that Health Canada is on the right track when it comes to cannabis edibles safety and labelling.

This editorial content from the LPC News Editor is meant to provide analysis, insight, and perspective on current news articles. To read the source article this commentary is based upon, please click on the link below.

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  1. Captain Dred

    Won’t the black market and grey market end up locking down 90% of the customer base just like they have with flower?

    Same restrictions, same strange pricing scheme, same taxes, I expect the same result. Why will legal edibles work when legal recreational flower has been such a Fail?

    By labelling it as medicine, all we will accomplish is enure the LP’s jack the price up beyond all reason, thus ensuring everyone sticks with the black market (or starts using it for the first time too).

    Whistler MMJ wants $750 per clone!!! What will they want for nanaimo bars? $50 a square?

    1. LPC News Editor Listing Owner

      Health Canada’s goal has always been safety, particularly in terms of keeping cannabis out of the hands of children. I think this commentary by a medical doctor who has seen the results of accidental dosing is fair comment on the importance of labelling edibles correctly. While I agree that labelling it as medicine goes too far, standards in the United States may not go far enough. As mentioned in the original article, there isn’t concrete data to prove accidental dosing is on the rise. However, there are reported incidences of accidental dosing with packaging (or, at least, lack of explicit warning) as at least a contributing factor. As the prevalance of edibles increases, so too does the chance of accidental dosing. A combination of plain packaging, explicit warnings on the label, and keeping it out of reach of children will help reduce the risk. Conversely, bright packaging, candy-like edibles, and lack of warning will increase the risk. I think that is self-evident.