Edible marijuana has become one of the most popular ways to consume the drug in the states that have legalized it. Licensed retailers are creating more and more snacks laced with marijuana. The trend has become so popular in Colorado, for example, that many companies are struggling to keep up with the demand, and profits are taking precedent over health.
In addition to creating foods that are trying appeal to a broad (and younger) audience, manufacturers are also using potent strands of THC, therefore making the edibles extremely strong and potentially dangerous.
“What we’re seeing with edibles is that effect is delayed for approximately 30 minutes, depending on the person. People get impatient for the effect and will take more, and then the symptoms are more pronounced than what they were expecting,” explained Al Bronstein, a doctor at the Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Center.
In locations where recreational marijuana is legal, a person can buy as much marijuana snacks as they want. There is no limit to the amount of marijuana a person is allowed to consume. Some people traveling through also decide to try the confections, thinking that they’re more of a novelty. Being unaccustomed to marijuana edibles, they are likely unaware of the delayed effect and the potency and wind up ingesting more of the drug than they anticipated.
At least one incident where marijuana edibles seem to have played a role in a death occurred in March 2014. The coroner’s office ruled that the death of a college student who fell from a window was caused, in part, by too many marijuana snacks.
More recently, a mother who lost her son to suicide is convinced that marijuana edibles played a large role in her son’s death. She believes that he ate too much of the snacks and became overwhelmed. Unable to handle the high and being overwhelmed with different things going on in his life, he shot himself.
As the culture leans more towards the recreational use of marijuana, it is vital that people understand that even if they buy pot legally, it is still a drug with potentially powerful side effects, even in the form of a cupcake or a brownie. The nation should be watching places like Colorado and Washington closely to see the longer-term effects on society before others start trying to legalize the drug for wider use.