Biting into addiction: How cannabis gummies impact your health

As the cannabis market expands, one particular product is gaining increasing popularity — cannabis-infused edible goods. These delicious treats offer a discreet and convenient way for consumers to enjoy the benefits of cannabis, but they also come with unique challenges.

What are cannabis gummies/edibles?

Cannabis edibles are food products infused with cannabinoids, such as THC or CBD, derived from the cannabis plant. These edibles offer an alternative to smoking or vaping for those seeking the medicinal or recreational effects of cannabis. Various types of cannabis edibles include:

  • Brownies and cookies: Baked goods infused with cannabis extract.


  • Gummies: Chewy candies with measured doses of cannabinoids.


  • Chocolates: Cannabis-infused chocolate bars or truffles.


  • Beverages: Drinks like teas, sodas, or tinctures containing cannabinoids.


  • Capsules: Pills or softgels with precise cannabinoid concentrations.


Potential positives of cannabis edibles

With every great argument or debate comes a thorough look at both sides of the coin. With that being said, let’s take a close look at some of the positives cannabis gummies/edibles can bring to the table when taken in low doses:

Pain relief

  • THC offers relief in the form of tasty gummies/edibles.


  • Interacts with the brain and immune system to combat inflammation and pain.


  • Ideal for arthritis and neuropathic pain.


Anxiety and stress reduction

  • THC and CBD act as calming agents.


  • CBD provides a calming effect without a psychedelic experience.


  • Beneficial for those dealing with anxiety or stress.

Sleep aid

  • THC and CBD collaborate for a better night’s sleep.


  • Creates a bedtime harmony, promoting relaxation.


  • Results may vary, but cannabis gummies offer a potential solution for improved sleep.


We must stress that these effects aren’t guaranteed for everyone. Tolerance, weight, age and other factors are all involved and could be the difference between positive and negative effects.

Potential abuse risks of cannabis edibles

As we delve into the potential risks associated with consuming cannabis edibles, it becomes clear that the majority of highlighted risks are linked to the misuse of cannabis. The primary focus is to underscore the dangers of abuse when dealing with cannabis edibles.

Psychotic symptoms from high THC quantities

High quantities of THC are reported to produce transient psychotic symptoms, including hallucinations, delusions, and anxiety in some individuals. A study in 2015 showed that the heightened consumption of high-potency cannabis is linked to a greater likelihood of developing a more severe dependence, particularly among young individuals. Adverse effects, such as impaired memory and heightened paranoia, primarily mark the characteristics of this form of cannabis.

Many cannabis edible products that are on the market now contain high doses of THC.

Severe behavioural impairment episodes

Episodes of severe cannabis-induced behavioural impairment are common, affecting 65% of medicinal cannabis users. These overdoses result in highly aversive experiences, encompassing cognitive and motor impairment, extreme sedation, agitation, anxiety, cardiac stress, and vomiting.

In March 2014, a tragic incident unfolded in Colorado, resulting in the death of a 19-year-old man. After consuming a cannabis-infused cookie, he suffered fatal injuries by jumping off a fourth-floor balcony. Despite the sales clerk’s advice to consume only one serving, equivalent to 10 mg of THC, the young man, not feeling the effects within an hour, consumed the entire cookie within two hours.

Over the next two hours, he reportedly displayed erratic speech and hostile behaviours. Approximately 3.5 hours after the initial ingestion and 2.5 hours after consuming the remainder of the cookie, he tragically jumped off a fourth-floor balcony, succumbing to fatal trauma.

Some edibles are created to be delicious

Many edibles that are available on the market are direct rip-offs of brands and the flavours they produce. For example, a popular cannabis edible called ‘Starbuds’ is a copy of the famous confectionary product Starbursts. The packaging takes a very similar pattern, making it difficult to distinguish between the two. Additionally, the flavour is intended to mimic the sweet, fruity taste of the original Starbursts.

This fact contributes to a strong association between edible use and overconsumption. The diverse range of flavours catering to various taste buds increases the likelihood of overconsumption, showing a need to recognise the risks inherent in the consumption of cannabis-infused edibles.


Persistent psychotic symptoms

While psychotic symptoms brought on by an overdose of cannabis generally last only for the duration of intoxication in healthy adult users, some cases demonstrate that these symptoms can persist for as long as several days. This extended duration highlights the potential for enduring psychological effects, even after the acute phase of intoxication has passed.

Hospitalisations involving children

Between September and December 2018, 16 cases of serious adverse events involving cannabis were reported, with 11 cases verified by researchers. Six of these cases involved young children accidentally consuming cannabis edibles belonging to a parent or grandparent, leading to hospitalisations. This underscores the critical need for responsible storage and handling of cannabis edibles, especially in households with children, to prevent accidental ingestion and its severe consequences.

How are the abuse risks of edibles related to cannabis addiction?

The abuse risks of edibles are related to cannabis addiction in several ways. Here are some factors that connect the abuse risks of edibles to addiction:

Psychological dependence

Individuals may turn to cannabis edibles for stress relief or mood enhancement. The convenience and discreet nature of edibles make them an appealing option, potentially contributing to psychological dependence as users associate the consumption of edibles with emotional well-being.


Regular consumption of cannabis edibles can lead to the gradual development of tolerance. Users may find that they need to increase their edible intake over time to achieve the same desired effects, which could contribute to an escalating pattern of use, which could, over time, promote the likelihood of cannabis addiction.


Withdrawal symptoms

Suddenly stopping the consumption of cannabis edibles may result in withdrawal symptoms. These can include irritability, insomnia, and mood changes. While cannabis withdrawal symptoms are generally considered less severe than with some other substances, they can still impact the user’s well-being. Users may opt to continue using cannabis edibles to beat the withdrawal symptoms. This then brings a vicious cycle where the user climbs deeper and deeper into dependency and addiction.

Dosage challenges

Edibles can be challenging to dose accurately, and individuals may unintentionally consume higher amounts of THC than intended. This variability in dosage can increase the risk of developing tolerance and dependence.

Cultural and social factors

With more and more countries and cultures relaxing their views on cannabis, it could bring in the potential for cannabis addiction. Edibles don’t carry the same stigma as, say, smoking cannabis would. No potent smells, no need to carry in public, no drama, no mess. With a more open view of cannabis, it could leave the door wide open for dependencies to form, especially when regular use is accessible.


Avoid the path of addiction with responsible consumption

While cannabis is generally considered to have a lower risk of physical dependence compared to some other substances, it’s still crucial to approach its use with care to minimise the potential for dependency and addiction. Here’s our list of tips and helpful advice to ensure you’re safety when consuming cannabis edibles:

Start with a low dose to manage tolerance
Grasp the THC content in edibles to control intake effectively, and learn the numbers, units of measurement and any other cannabis jargon to make sure you’re ingesting the dosage that’s right for you.

Understand the dosage to control intake
Grasp the THC content in edibles to control intake effectively, learn the numbers, units of measurements and any other cannabis jargon to make sure you’re ingesting the dosage that’s right for you.

Consume in a familiar setting
Choose a comfortable and familiar environment to consume edibles. Being in a safe and known place can help reduce anxiety and discomfort if the effects become more intense than expected.

Have a sober, experienced friend
If you’re new to edibles or trying a different product, have a sober friend with you who can assist if needed. This is especially important in case of unexpected reactions or the effects are stronger than anticipated. If the friend is experiencing themselves with cannabis, they may be able to spot the signs of abuse and guide you in the right way.

Store safely to discourage frequent access
Out of sight, out of mind. Safely storing edibles prevents easy access, discouraging frequent use and reducing the potential for developing a habit around their consumption.

Know when to seek help for behavioural patterns
Being aware of one’s behaviour and seeking help if cannabis use becomes a coping mechanism for deeper issues is crucial for preventing the development of cannabis dependence.

Symptoms of Cannabis Use Disorder (CUD):

  • Needing increased amounts for the same effect.


  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when not using cannabis.


  • Unsuccessful attempts to cut down or control use.


  • Devoting significant time to obtaining or using cannabis.


  • Giving up important social, occupational, or recreational activities.


  • Ignoring physical or psychological issues caused by cannabis.


  • Strong cravings to use cannabis.


If you’ve noticed these signs in yourself, it could indicate you have a cannabis issue, and it’s best to seek help as soon as possible.

Where can I get help for cannabis addiction?

For those struggling with cannabis addiction, UKAT offers comprehensive support for a transformative journey to recovery. Our experienced team provides cannabis detox, rehab, and aftercare services, ensuring a holistic approach. In a safe and nurturing environment, our facilities promote healing and personal growth. Take control of your life—contact UKAT today to start your path to recovery.

(Click here to see works cited)

  • Freeman TP, Winstock AR. “Examining the profile of high-potency cannabis and its association with severity of cannabis dependence.” Psychol Med. 2015 Nov;45(15):3181-9. doi: 10.1017/S0033291715001178. Epub 2015 Jul 27. PMID: 26213314; PMCID: PMC4611354.


  • Barrus DG, Capogrossi KL, Cates SC, Gourdet CK, Peiper NC, Novak SP, Lefever TW, Wiley JL. “Tasty THC: Promises and Challenges of Cannabis Edibles.” Methods Rep RTI Press. 2016 Nov;2016:10.3768/rtipress.2016.op.0035.1611. doi: 10.3768/rtipress.2016.op.0035.1611. PMID: 28127591; PMCID: PMC5260817.


  • Hancock-Allen JB, Barker L, VanDyke M, Holmes DB. “Notes from the Field: Death Following Ingestion of an Edible Marijuana Product–Colorado, March 2014.” MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2015 Jul 24;64(28):771-2. doi: 10.15585/mmwr.mm6428a6. PMID: 26203632; PMCID: PMC4584864.


  • Moore, Cortney D., and Fox News. “‘Medicated’ Halloween Edibles Resembling Name-Brand Candy Prompt Indiana State Police Warning.” Fox News, FOX News Network, 29 Oct. 2020,


  • Barrus DG, Capogrossi KL, Cates SC, Gourdet CK, Peiper NC, Novak SP, Lefever TW, Wiley JL. “Tasty THC: Promises and Challenges of Cannabis Edibles.” Methods Rep RTI Press. 2016 Nov;2016:10.3768/rtipress.2016.op.0035.1611. doi: 10.3768/rtipress.2016.op.0035.1611. PMID: 28127591; PMCID: PMC5260817.


  • Vogel L. “Cannabis edibles already harming kids, new data show.” CMAJ. 2019 Jul 15;191/28:E801. doi: 10.1503/cmaj.109-5789. PMID: 31308015; PMCID: PMC6629533.
close help
Who am I contacting?

Calls and contact requests are answered by admissions at

UK Addiction Treatment Group.

We look forward to helping you take your first step.

03301 736 751