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