It goes without saying that using medical marijuana can have a dramatic impact on your health. For many medical marijuana patients, of course, this impact is immensely positive, bringing needed relief from the pain and discomfort brought on by serious illnesses and ailments. However, there are some health effects of MMJ use that aren’t talked about quite as much—especially as far as marijuana edibles are concerned.
There are a number of reasons to choose cannabis edibles—many patients simply find this to be the easiest and most appealing way to consume their medicinal marijuana, and in some cases it makes it easier to get the concentration of marijuana you truly need to function—but, as with any other dietary decisions, there are a number of health issues to take into consideration, even beyond the marijuana itself.
Sugar vs. High Fructose Corn Syrup
Medical marijuana edibles often come in the form of sweets—the marijuana brownie is perhaps the most common or clichéd one of all, depending on your vantage point—which means that, in addition to consuming marijuana, you’re also consuming some form of sugar. Sometimes, this will be actual, natural sugar, but other marijuana edibles are made with high fructose corn syrup—which has some adverse health effects of its own.
When picking edibles, choosing something made with natural sugar is actually the healthier option. Your body was simply not made to digest high fructose corn syrup, and doing so can take up to four days, while digesting natural sugar usually just takes a day or two. The fact that the body has such a hard time digesting high fructose corn syrup is often cited as a primary reason for America’s obesity epidemic—and for already-ailing patients, loading up on this harmful substance could exacerbate some of your existing health issues.
Other Culinary Considerations
There are some other nutritional decisions you’ll need to make with your edibles, too. For example, think about fat and calorie intakes. Since edible medical marijuana products are not regulated by the federal government in the same way that our other foods are, many edibles come without nutrition labels—so you’ll need to look to comparable, non-MMJ products to estimate the calorie and fat contents of each item, and to make a cautious and informed decision about what you put into your body.
Another thing to think about: Do you want to eat organic or processed foods? Many edible vendors have their own homemade recipes, creating delicious edibles with fresh and organic ingredients. Others use the same processed ingredients you’d find in junk food—sugary cereals, store-bought cookies, and the like. Fresh and organic stuff is always going to be better for you, nutritionally, and it has the added bonus of supporting your local economy.
A Bounty of Edibles
Earlier, we mentioned the clichéd marijuana brownie—and while there’s certainly nothing wrong with consuming your edibles in this way, we want to close by pointing out that there is actually a huge bounty of medical marijuana edibles to choose from, and more of them all the time. The myriad options now include marijuana-infused dried fruit and peanut butter; sugar-free edibles, including cookies, are readily available; there are even cannabis-infused cooking ingredients—pesto, different sauces, and beyond.
Choosing MMJ edibles is often the best decision you can make, as far as your marijuana delivery method—but it’s important to think through all the health implications that this choice brings.