THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is a potent psychoactive compound found in cannabis. The use of psychoactive plants is gaining popularity, and THC-infused edibles, such as THC lemonade, are one of them. Let's explore the legal and health aspects of THC edibles, shedding light on the differences between THC and cannabidiol (CBD).
THC lemonade, and THC-infused beverages, in general, are gaining popularity in states where recreational cannabis is legal.
THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is a psychoactive compound in cannabis, found in marijuana and hemp, with varying legal limits.
Short-term effects of THC include altered senses, mood changes, and impaired memory, while long-term use can lead to health issues.
The legality of THC lemonade varies by location, with evolving laws and potential risks associated with consumption.
What is THC?
THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is a psychoactive compound in cannabis plants such as marijuana and hemp. While marijuana contains high levels of THC, hemp contains low levels of THC, which should be 0.3% or lesser of dry weight.
THC exists in several different forms. The two most studied forms of THC are delta-9-THC and delta-8-THC.
Delta-8-THC is known to be less psychoactive than delta-9-THC. They bind certain receptors with different strengths, which differentiate their effects.
The increasing popularity of THC-infused beverages
Foods and drinks infused with cannabis extract are becoming popular in states where cannabis is legal for recreational purposes. THC is consumed in baked goods, chocolates, candies, gummies, and beverages such as lemonade, mostly “feel better” or "high".
THC-infused lemonade, for example, is typically produced by infusing the beverage with a specific amount of THC extract or distillate.
Possible effects of THC lemonade
THC-infused products can cause short- and long-term health effects.
THC is generally taken by smoking or eating foods. THC-infused foods are absorbed more slowly when eaten or drunk; the effects typically rise within 30 to 60 minutes. THC binds receptors in certain brain parts, causing:
- Altered senses
- Altered sense of time
- Mood changes
- Impaired memory and body movement
- Difficulty with thinking and problem-solving
- Delusions and hallucinations (when taken in high doses)
- Increased heart rate
Edibles take more time to produce the feeling of "being high"; therefore, people tend to eat more until they feel "high". However, high level consumption of THC-infused edibles can cause emergency room visits.
The long-term effects of THC can be highly destructive to health. It can impair memory, thinking, and learning, especially in teenagers. Marijuana has been shown to irreversibly decrease IQ by an average of 8 points in teenage use.
Long-term and regular use of marijuana can cause Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome, associated with regular cycles of severe nausea, vomiting, and dehydration.
Long-term use is also associated with mental illnesses such as temporary hallucinations, paranoia, and worsening symptoms in patients with severe mental disorders. It can also cause anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts.
It’s reported that 9 to 30% of marijuana users develop marijuana use disorders and addiction.
What is the difference between THC and CBD?
Cannabis is a plant containing more than eighty active compounds. Two of them, and the most popular, are delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).
THC is responsible for the "high" feeling caused by marijuana. Whereas, research focused more on the health effects of CBD.
CBD vs THC: Are those drinks healthier than alcoholic beverages?
We cannot say one or the other is healthier. Consumption of CBD, THC, or alcohol causes short and long-term health risks.
Excessive alcohol consumption leads to over 140,000 fatalities annually in the United States. On the other hand, cannabis products cause death related to intoxication caused by a psychoactive substance or driving when high.
For example, after recreational cannabis was legalized in Colorado, deaths caused by cannabis-positive drivers increased by 138%.
Risks and side effects of THC-infused edibles
The safety and efficiency of marketed THC products are not proven.
Also, cannabis and cannabinoid use is linked to increased risk of motor vehicle crashes, lung injuries, lack of control, and severe mental illnesses.
Because the products are not evaluated or approved by the FDA, it is impossible to be sure of their exact formulations, accuracy of labeling, and purity.
Legality of THC Lemonade
The legality of THC-infused edibles, including THC lemonade, changes across different states and countries.
For example, in the USA, it’s illegal to sell CBD or THC-added foods in interstate commerce; however, they can be sold legally if state law and regulations allow.
Hemp containing no more than 0.3% THC on a dry-weight basis is legal in most states in America. If a cannabis-derived product contains more than 0.3% of delta-9 THC, it is categorized as a Schedule I controlled substance.
However, four drugs containing cannabinoids have been approved for use in the treatment of seizures associated with Lennox Gastaut syndrome (LGS), Dravet syndrome (DS), tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC), neuropathic pain, and nausea from chemotherapy and cancer.
Since laws related to cannabis are still evolving, it's crucial to ensure the legality of THC-containing edibles where you live by checking the most up-to-date information from authoritative sources or consulting with legal experts to understand the current legal status.
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration. FDA Regulation and Quality Considerations for Cannabis and Cannabis-Derived Compounds.
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration. What You Need to Know (And What We’re Working to Find Out) About Products Containing Cannabis or Cannabis-derived Compounds, Including CBD.
- National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Cannabis (Marijuana) and Cannabinoids: What You Need To Know.
- National Safety Council. Cannabis and Safety: It's Complicated.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Preventing Excessive Alcohol Use.
Show all references
- University of South Carolina. Cannabis-derived products like delta-8 THC and delta-10 THC have flooded the US market.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. What is marijuana?