In recent years, we’ve seen a concerning trend: the rise in popularity of edibles such as gummies, brownies, and cookies among young adults. At WakeUp Carolina, as a recovery community organization, we feel it is our responsibility to shed light on the potential dangers of this trend and the severe consequences it can have on mental health, including the risk of psychosis.

What Are Edibles?

Edibles are food products infused with psychoactive substances like cannabis or psilocybin, the latter found in certain species of mushrooms. While these edibles are often marketed as a safe and controlled way to experience the effects of these substances, they carry significant risks, especially when used recreationally and without proper knowledge or guidance.

The Allure of Edibles

The appeal of these edibles to young adults is multifaceted. Their sweet taste, colorful appearance, and perceived novelty make them an attractive alternative to traditional forms of drug consumption.

Additionally, the growing wave of decriminalization and the portrayal of psychedelics in popular culture as tools for enlightenment or therapy contribute to their rising popularity. These edibles are being advertised on social media to order online with limited restrictions on who can purchase them.

The Risk of Psychosis

One of the most alarming dangers associated with the use of edibles is the potential for psychosis. Psychosis is a severe mental disorder in which thoughts and emotions are so impaired that contact is lost with external reality. Here’s how psychoactive substances can contribute to this:

  • Altered Perception: These substances significantly alter brain function, leading to hallucinations and distorted perceptions of reality. While some may seek these experiences, they can be profoundly destabilizing and frightening, especially for those with underlying mental health conditions.
  • Triggering Latent Conditions: For individuals predisposed to mental health disorders such as schizophrenia, the use of psychoactive substances can trigger the onset of psychosis. This is particularly concerning because young adults are at an age where such conditions often begin to manifest.
  • Intense Emotional Responses: These substances can evoke intense emotional reactions, which can be overwhelming and lead to episodes of paranoia, anxiety, and panic. These episodes can escalate into a psychotic break, requiring immediate medical attention.
  • Long-Term Mental Health Impact: Repeated use of these substances can result in persistent changes to mental health. While some advocate for their therapeutic benefits under controlled conditions, recreational use lacks the safeguards necessary to prevent long-term psychological harm.

How Parents Can Limit Their Children’s Access to Edibles

Given the risks, it is crucial for parents to take steps to limit their children’s access to these products. Here are some strategies:

  • Educate: Talk to your children about the dangers of edibles and the potential risks to their mental health. Knowledge is a powerful tool in prevention.
    Secure Storage: Store edibles in a secure, locked place out of reach of children and teens. Treat these substances like any other potentially harmful medication.
  • Monitor Online Activity: Be aware of your children’s online activities and the potential for them to purchase edibles over the Internet. Set up parental controls if necessary.
  • Know the Signs: Be vigilant for signs of edible use, such as changes in behavior, mood swings, or physical symptoms like dilated pupils or confusion. Early detection can prevent more severe consequences.
  • Open Communication: Foster an environment where your children feel comfortable discussing their experiences and concerns. An open line of communication can help you intervene early if necessary.

The Importance of Awareness and Education

At WakeUp Carolina, we believe that education and awareness are crucial in combating the dangers associated with edibles. Here are some steps we advocate for:

  • Open Conversations: Encourage open and honest conversations about the risks of psychoactive substances. Removing the stigma around discussing drug use can lead to better-informed decisions.
  • Mental Health Support: Ensure that mental health resources are readily available to young adults. Early intervention can prevent the development of more severe conditions.
  • Community Outreach: Engage in community outreach programs to educate young adults about the potential dangers of recreational drug use, including the risk of psychosis.
  • Advocate for Regulation: Support policies that regulate the distribution and consumption of psychoactive products. Proper regulation can help mitigate the risks associated with their use.

The rise in popularity of edibles among young adults is a trend that cannot be ignored. While the allure of these products is understandable, the risks they pose to mental health, particularly the potential for psychosis, are severe.

At WakeUp Carolina, we are committed to raising awareness about these dangers and supporting young adults in making informed, safe choices. Together, we can work towards a healthier, more informed community.

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