Ever since the Flintstones vitamins made their debut, gummies have occupied an oddly sweet space between health food and candy. Today, they’re the go-to delivery method for a host of supplements and nutritional needs, including cannabinoids like CBD (cannabidiol). Gummies are a convenient and discreet way to consume cannabis — they’re easier to carry around than capsules or tinctures and more graceful than smoking or vaping.

But gummies come with their own unique set of risks. Because gummies edible gummies are edible, they’re ingested directly into the digestive tract, so it takes longer for the cannabinoids to reach the bloodstream than it does with an inhalant. Plus, the way your body metabolizes cannabinoids is different depending on what you eat or drink while consuming them. That can lead to unexpected highs and lows.

The result is that gummies can be dangerous, especially for first-timers and new consumers. The American Association of Poison Control Centers receive calls about marijuana edible overdoses and accidental pediatric exposures on a regular basis. Some of these cases involve gummies that look so much like everyday foods, such as fruit or vegetables, that children mistakenly think they’re safe to eat. To mitigate this risk, the legal cannabis industry has put strict packaging regulations into place that make it harder for THC-infused gummies to look like non-potent ones.

For this reason, it’s important to read the label carefully when purchasing gummies. Most labels will display the dosage of THC or CBD per unit, meaning per gummy, but some will only show how much is in the entire container. This can be confusing for new users who aren’t sure how much to take in one sitting.

THC and CBD are the main psychoactive cannabinoids in most edibles, but they’re not the only ones. Many cannabis products contain secondary cannabinoids, like CBG, CBN and THCV, that can enhance the experience or provide therapeutic benefits without getting you high.

Edible manufacturers typically use a combination of natural and artificial sweeteners, oils and flavoring to make their gummies taste delicious. They may also use pectin — an indigestible gelling agent that’s made from the cell walls of certain fruits and used to create jams and jellies — to give their products a firm texture that holds up to chewing. In addition, most manufacturers will add citric acid or malic acid to the mix for a tart taste and to help the gummies dissolve more easily.