Here are some cautionary tales about the strength and possible danger of legal marijuana edibles, whether they be sold as medical marijuana or in states like Colorado which choose to legalize general marijuana sales:
Last year, the poison center run by Bronstein received 126 calls concerning adverse reactions to marijuana. So far this year — after pot sales became legal on Jan. 1 — the center has gotten 65 calls. Bronstein attributed the spike to the higher concentrations of THC in marijuana that has become available.
Although millions of Americans have used pot without becoming violent, Bronstein said such behavior is possible depending on the type of hallucinations a user experiences. Toxicologists say genetic makeup, health issues and other factors also can make a difference.
“With these products, everybody is inexperienced,” Bronstein said. “It’s the first time people have been able to buy it in a store. People need to be respectful of these products.”
I’ve witnessed this firsthand, because I know people who use medical marijuana and I’ve observed its incredibly strong effect when ingested. Back in the 60s, marijuana was almost always a lot weaker than today. But apparently, officially sanctioned and state-controlled marijuana can be a lot stronger even than the current crop of illegal marijuana, which was already stronger than in the past:
The two recent deaths [in Colorado] have stoked concerns about Colorado’s recreational marijuana industry and the effects of the drug, especially since cookies, candy and other pot edibles can be exponentially more potent than a joint.
There’s no question that other drugs—including prescription drugs—can and are abused in dangerous ways. The same is true of alcohol, of course. But from what I’ve seen of legal marijuana edibles, they are uniquely positioned to have maximum appeal to children, and also to be unwittingly over-consumed:
Twenty-six people have reported poisonings from marijuana edibles this year, when the center started tracking such exposures. Six were children who swallowed innocent-looking edibles, most of which were in plain sight.
Five of those kids were sent to emergency rooms, and two to hospitals for intensive care, Bronstein said. Children were nauseous and sleepy, and doctors worried about their respiratory systems shutting down…
“One of the problems is people become very impatient,” Bronstein said. “They eat a brownie or a chocolate chip cookie and they get no effect, so then they stack the doses and all the sudden they get an extreme effect that they weren’t expecting.”
Plus, chocolate candy just plain tastes good. The marijuana-laced ones look so innocuous, just like a Lindt truffle. So if one is good, why not a few more? But these things pack a mighty, mighty wallop.