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Are Edibles Addictive?

a young woman struggles with the effects of edible addiction

While the research on cannabis and addiction is ongoing, it’s clear that THC edibles have the potential to be addictive, especially with frequent and high-dose use. Being aware of the signs of addiction and taking steps to use edibles responsibly can help prevent dependence and its associated consequences. If you find yourself struggling with edible use, don’t hesitate to reach out for LGBTQ+-centered support from Pride Institute. Call 888.408.1625 or contact us online for information about our substance use disorder treatment programs.

What Are Edibles?

Edibles are food products infused with cannabinoids—the active compounds found in the cannabis plant. The most commonly known cannabinoids are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). While CBD is best known for its therapeutic and non-intoxicating effects, THC is the psychoactive compound responsible for the “high” associated with marijuana.

Edibles typically refer to baked goods, gummies, chocolates, mints, beverages, and other consumable items that have been infused with cannabis extracts. These are not just your average treats but carefully measured indulgences that can lead to a potent and often longer-lasting high compared with other methods of cannabis consumption.

When you ingest an edible, it follows a different metabolic pathway than smoked or vaporized cannabis. It travels through your digestive system, gets metabolized by your liver, and eventually, the THC enters your bloodstream. This process takes considerably longer than inhalation, so edibles can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours to take effect.

Due to this delayed onset, edibles can catch unsuspecting consumers off-guard. The transformed THC, now 11-hydroxy-THC, is more potent and has a longer half-life in your body, leading to a more intense and long-lasting experience.

Are Edibles Addictive?

Edibles are digested and then processed by the liver, converting THC into a stronger compound called 11-hydroxy-THC. This process can result in a more intense and longer-lasting high compared to other methods of consumption, increasing the likelihood of developing a tolerance and, potentially, an addiction.

Recognizing the signs of addiction can be challenging, especially since edibles are often viewed as a safer or less harmful method of consuming THC. However, addictive behaviors related to edibles can develop, so it is essential to be mindful of the following signs:

  • Increased tolerance – Needing to consume a higher dose of edibles to achieve the same effect as before.
  • Withdrawal symptoms – Experiencing physical or psychological symptoms when not using edibles, such as irritability, restlessness, sleep issues, or decreased appetite.
  • Compulsive use – Finding it hard to control or cut back on edible usage despite wanting to or trying to do so.
  • Time spent – Spending a significant amount of time obtaining, consuming, and recovering from the effects of edibles.
  • Neglecting responsibilities – Prioritizing edible use over personal, social, or professional responsibilities and obligations.
  • Continued use despite negative consequences – Continuing to use edibles even when it causes relationship issues, health problems, or legal troubles.
  • Using edibles to cope – Relying on edibles to deal with stress, difficult emotions, or to feel ‘normal.’
  • Reduced interest – Losing interest in hobbies and activities that were once enjoyable before using edibles frequently.

If you or someone you know is exhibiting these signs of edible addiction, it’s essential to seek professional help. Addiction is a medical condition that can be treated, and support is available.

Contact Pride Institute for LGBTQ+-Focused Substance Use Disorder Treatment

Substance use disorder takes a disproportionate toll on the LGBTQ+ community. Factors like discrimination, social stigma, and past traumas contribute to a higher predilection for substance use as a coping mechanism. Mainstream rehabilitation centers might not fully understand these challenges or create an environment where LGBTQ+ individuals feel safe and accepted.

LGBTQ+-focused treatments at Pride Institute, however, offer an atmosphere of empathy and belonging, which is essential for healing. Meeting others with similar life experiences encourages individuals to open up, which is crucial for effective treatment and recovery. Call 888.408.1625 or contact us online today to learn more.