Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Back to Blog
A small stack of brownies cut into squares with a couple of marijuana buds in front against a black background.

Spotlight on Marijuana Edibles

developing brain marijuana teen brain Feb 27, 2023

Did you Know? Answer These Questions About Edibles.

What are marijuana edibles?

Edibles, made with marijuana leaves or higher potency cannabis extracts, are a popular, less-detectable alternative to smoking marijuana. They may look like common baked goods, candies, and beverages, and are often designed in a way that appeals to youth. Package labeling may indicate THC-laden contents, but when unwrapped the product may look like and be mistaken for normal food.

Let’s test your knowledge:

  • True or False: The effects of edibles are different from smoking marijuana.
  • True or False: Marijuana edibles can send a child to the ER.
  • True or False: The effects of ingesting cannabis last longer than inhaling marijuana.

The effects of eating or drinking edibles are different from smoking marijuana. How someone will react to edibles depends on the type and strength of the edibles, the person’s body mass, chemistry, metabolism, and the amount consumed. When people smoke marijuana, they feel the effect almost right away. When a person starts to feel the effects, they may stop smoking, which can control the dose. However, when people eat or drink marijuana, their bodies take longer to digest and break it down before they feel the effects. By the time they feel “high,” it’s too late to control the dose, which makes it common for a person to accidentally eat or drink a higher dose of THC than planned.

Accidental consumption of marijuana has led to an increase in emergency room visits by children in many places. After recreational marijuana stores opened, ER visits and poison-control calls for kids also increased and many cases involved kids accidentally eating marijuana edibles.

The effects of ingesting cannabis last longer compared to when cannabis is smoked or vaped. The effects can last up to 12 hours, with residual effects lasting up to 24 hours; because, it takes a long time for your body to absorb the THC from edible cannabis, the THC is present in your body for longer than after smoking or vaping cannabis.

Can marijuana affect teen brain development?

Some negative effects of marijuana on teen brain development have been shown. The prefrontal cortex does not reach full maturity until the early twenties, meaning that many complex processes of the adolescent brain are still in progress. Neuroscientific research indicates that during this time, teens are especially vulnerable to the effects of cannabis. Delaying or preventing the start of regular marijuana use to adulthood can prevent long-term damage to neurons and ensure optimal brain health and functioning.

Heavy marijuana use starting in teens or younger may lower IQ by as many as eight points, and the loss of IQ is permanent. Heavy use can also cause loss in brain processing speed and memory.

(All answers are true.)

Learn more about marijuana, edibles, and the effects of marijuana use on the developing teen brain at