Problems with Edible Pot in 2014
Potent drugs creating serious issues
When the movement to legalize pot geared up, I remember reading about how edible pot products were a good thing for people who wanted to use pot for medicinal purposes since they wouldn’t have to smoke it. In fact, they’ve become fairly popular. But edible pot is causing major problems. I first wrote about this when I ruminated on the experience of a Baltimore columnist I know. (And when you read that noted oped columnist Maureen Dowd had a similar experience, well, that’s something.) Finally, just look at what a few major media outlets are reporting.
In May, USA Today told of a man in Colorado who was hoping edible pot would help with his insomnia and anxiety. But an hour and a half after taking it, he was “hyperventilating, freaking out, and heading to the ER.” (After not feeling anything, he had another ¼ of a cookie after the first ¼ , not realizing that doubling the amount would cause such trouble.)
One problem is that the amount different edibles contain is not consistent, and sometimes the amount is extremely high. Two people died in Colorado after eating pot edibles, so the state rushed to regulate these products. Now, “edible marijuana products [in the state] cannot contain more than 100 mg of THC, the compound in marijuana that gets users high. But there’s no standard for the size of those products. That means one candy bar can contain the same amount of THC as an entire bag of cookies.” In addition, the legislators reduced the amount of infused oil or butter that consumers can buy because the level of concentrated marijuana in these products is so high.
In Wyoming, a student jumped to his death after eating a pot cookie, and a Denver resident shot his wife to death after eating marijuana candy on top of prescription medication. However, manufacturers of these products take issue with attributing these deaths to the edibles. They say you’ll get hot and cold flashes and pass out, but you won’t do anything dangerous.
In April, ABC News found that edible marijuana may be more dangerous than smoking pot because of these troublesome incidents. The article on its site also pointed to the increase in the number of children showing up in Colorado emergency rooms. This piece is worth reading for the comments afterward if for nothing else—the pro and the con arguments.
The New York Times sounded the alarm about the edible products as far back as January, identifying two vulnerable target markets not often mentioned: older customers and tourists staying in smoke-free hotel rooms. As far as children ingesting the products, the danger is that they could fall and hurt themselves, or fall asleep in a position that didn’t allow them to breathe. Plus, there’s no antidote.
And now, in June, a New York Times headline reads: After 5 Months of Sales, Colorado Sees the Downside of a Legal High. The article starts out with the aforementioned murder and problems with children ingesting edible marijuana, but also notes that “proponents… argue that… critics are cherry-picking anecdotes to tarnish an industry that has been flourishing under intense scrutiny.”
To many people, Colorado is still a bellwether for other states and thus will continue to be studied and dissected ad infinitum.