Medicinal marijuana has been “legal” in California for quite some time now, and it can be found in several forms. Smoking it is, of course, the traditional method, though not everyone is keen on inhaling the vapors into their lungs. With those folks in mind, “edibles” have been developed. “Edibles” contain high amounts of THC, the active chemical in marijuana that get’s you “high” and eases physical pain, anxiety, and other maladies. These “edibles” have been created in a form of a variety of tasty treats like cookies, brownies, gummy bears and candy bars – and that’s the problem, according to law enforcement.

When someone smokes marijuana, the smoke enters the lungs, and therefore the bloodstream, very quickly. They begin to feel the effects within moments of inhaling the smoke. However, with “edibles,” the THC enters through the stomach and must be absorbed via the digestive system – an process that takes significantly longer than when it’s inhaled. The lack of an initial “high” after swallowing the first bite or two of an “edible” has lead some Santa Clarita youths to believe that it isn’t working, thereby prompting them to consume more of it. When the THC they ingest actually does start to kick in, they’ve already consumed far more than is recommended and are often left feeling ill, and sometimes even being hospitalized.

According to deputies working as part of the Santa Clarita Sheriff Station’s “J-Team” (or Juvenile Team), teenagers from the Santa Clarita Valley are obtaining fake IDs and purchasing the “edibles” from dispensaries in Sylmar. One of the problems with “edibles” is that once someone obtains them, they’re very difficult to spot. Cookies, brownies and chocolate bars laced with THC look exactly like cookies, brownies and chocolate bars that are not. Even the packaging is designed to resemble popular brands of sweets.

Ultimately, the point is that consuming “edibles” works differently than the standard inhalation of smoke, and anyone who chooses to consume them (with the legal right to do so or not) should always take caution when they do.