My husband had the Maureen Dowd experience minus the unpleasantness, in that he ate a little too much too quickly. We took a ‘Rookie Cookie’ with us on vacation to Taos. We were playing cards late one afternoon and he took out the cookie to give it a try. It is a very small cookie, dosage 7 mg. I declined to join him; I was sufficiently challenged just trying to get through the end of allergy season, so Dan ate all the cookie himself, one dry crumb at a time… and we played cards and waited. Stone Sober Me checked in with him every fifteen minutes or so and asked him if he felt any effect; he said ‘no’. After about an hour, we decided to walk down the hill from the RV park to a Mexican restaurant to eat dinner. We paid for our food and waited for it to be delivered out on the patio, where our table had a view of the sunset reflected off Taos Mountain. That’s when he noticed he was very high, but he wouldn’t report this for a few days. I noticed no change in his behavior or speech. He said it spooked him that it sneaked up on him like that after at least an hour, and not even he noticed until he went outside the travel trailer and started walking.
We had heard that pot had changed quite a bit since the 70’s and 80’s; occasionally I’ll take medication to deal with anxiety, and we hoped a nibble of a brownie might be a smarter, tastier way to self-medicate. But I have never known a drug that could hit my husband right between the eyes and neither of us noticed the effect on him for some time. His tolerance for substances is much higher than mine. With today’s pot strains, we’re thinking we’re going to have to think more carefully about dosage and the degree of desireable ‘high’.
I would have to take issue with the assessment that the worst that could happen is you need to sit down for a while. While objectively true, in that there is no actual danger of an overdose hurting or killing you, eating too much can, and often does, result in an extremely unpleasant couple or hours spend sitting there twitching. There are some people who have no ill effects no matter how much they eat, but for me and plenty of other people I know, that’s not the case.
Smoking, you are very unlikely to get to the level where it’s unpleasant without realizing it ahead of time, and if you do get there, it passes in about twenty minutes. Smoking is also much more predictable, in that it gives similar results every time. I’ve had an experience where I ate an amount that I’d eaten two days ago with no ill effects, but this time it was after a workout and I hadn’t eaten in about seven hours. It came on much faster, and, while it didn’t reach the level of being unpleasant, I was a whole lot higher than I had planned to be for a while.
I think it’s slightly irresponsible to say that eating too much isn’t something to worry about, because, while that’s true of some people, there are certainly plenty of people, even people who like weed just fine, for whom that’s a recipe for a bad trip. I have no idea what the relative percentages are of those two types of people are.
I made some weed fudge for the guy I work for (who has MS), and brought a small amount home, which I absent-mindedly nibbled too much of yesterday, as it turns out I make fucking delicious fudge. Hoo boy. That’s the problem with edibles; some of them are, well, a bit too edible…
When it stated;
“As the size and frequency of cannabis dose increases, the density of
endocannabinoid receptor targets decreases. This tolerance to the
effects of cannabis is why the same dose that a heavy cannabis user
consumes easily overwhelms a newbie.”
I can vouch for that. Although the effect is entirely temporary. Stop smoking for week or two and it hits you really hard again when you have the next.
Your points are extremely well-taken. An oral cannabis overdose can be extremely frightening, and even potentially dangerous as it can impair motor coordination and cognition. The real point of the article is to stress the critical importance of controlling cannabis dose, not to minimize the seriousness of taking too much.
There is a great deal of variance among individuals in how they metabolize oral cannabis. The best way to approach this variance is by limiting dose and, frankly, the existing dose guidance that is out there is poor. A recent LA Times article cited a Colorado manufacturer that claimed a 10 mg THC cookie was “like a glass of wine that lasts six hours,” when the reality is that for most novice users 10 mg would produce uncomfortable levels of psychoactivity.
Often, commercial cannabis edibles available in Colorado appear to be formulated by and tested on experienced cannabis users. I would never recommend a 7 mg dose to an inexperienced cannabis user. A novice user is someone, in my estimation, who uses cannabis less than twice per month. Your husband would have been much better served by half that dose or even less. A 2.5 mg dose is much closer to a glass of wine, while 7 mg can feel more like a bottle.
There’s also a positive feedback effect to watch out for with edibles - the effects may hit different people in different orders, and you can end up not particularly high yet, with a raving case of the munchies, and a pan of really tasty-looking brownies just sitting there. And the high will catch up with you later, after you’ve eaten more of the tasty brownies, when the first one would have been plenty if you’d waited a bit longer.
There’s also the related problem of unknown dosage if you’re getting edibles from uncalibrated sources; I’ve had the occasional Grateful Dead concert that I spent sitting on the ground because I had half a brownie and nothing had happened after an hour so I ate the other half. Not psychologically disturbing, I just had to sit down while I could still navigate that far.
All I can say in reply is we was ignert, and it was a deceptively small cookie labeled ‘Rookie’ and recommended by some guy at the dispensary as a good intro. It would have been too dry and crumbly to portion into 2.5 mg. serving; he tried eating it slowly at first, but it was so tiny he finally said ‘fuck it’ and ate the whole thing. Six weeks later the rest of his purchase (the other cookie, two brownies, and a chocolate bar) remain untouched in the cabinet.
In the future I may just buy some leaf and bake my own brownies. More snack, less smack up side the head.
Famous last words: ‘Fuck it, this isn’t working; I’m going to have some more’
Hi lisa. I wasn’t actually referring to the article you wrote so much as Xeni’s summary in the abstract “The worst-case scenario is you have to watch a Pixar movie and take a nap.” which struck me as a little bit cavalier.
This was definitely a very informative, data-packed article that gave a very level-headed tour of edibles. One part of the equation that was left out, however, has little to do with the chemical make-up or potency of edibles. When you down a cookie or any psychoactive, you MUST take into account your environment and current mood. Psychoactives intensify your reactions to outside stumuli as well as how you’re currently feeling. That is, if you’re in a relaxing setting, and you know more or less what you’re getting into, and are in a generally positive mood, those factors will likely intensify into a pleasant experience. But if you’re stressed out, going into a stressful situation (such as driving, a loud concert, talking to police, etc), edibles can quickly turn into a nightmare. The key is to be aware that a pyschoactive is coursing through your system, that it’s not permanent, and the best thing you can do is try to find a relaxing environment or mood. Who you’re hanging out with is also an important consideration.
But as this article stresses, the biggest difference between a pot cookie and a shot of whiskey is drinking shots allows you to immediately gauge its effects and control the dosage (at least in theory, hahaha…ugh). But it’s impossible to know if you’re “wasted” when you have to wait around an hour to feel a cookie’s effects. Just take very small doses, don’t booze it up beforehand, and follow the cardinal rule: Respect Your Body.
A “freak out” reaction is particularly problematic, when somebody with no cannabis experience at all ingests an edible without realizing it.
This is why I believe that commercially produced edibles should be restricted to the medical market, and not included in legalization for recreational purposes.
Couldn’t agree more. Set and setting are incredibly important.
Here’s my hypothetical, which DID NOT ACTUALLY HAPPEN because I fear Child Protective Services.
My child has recently become able to get into drawers in the fridge. He pulled out a box containing taffy, labeled “CHEEBA CHEWS”
My wife did not/could not read the extremely fine print on the box that stipulated that this candy was medical marijuana.
Child approached me with candy. I immediately recognized that this would be a SUPER BAD THING to let child have. (Not sure what actually would happen. Just fearful.)
My solution: go to local medical marijuana dispensary (or most any drugstore), get child proof prescription vial. Mark vial clearly. Keep in a medicine cabinet. Instruct child never to touch anything in that cabinet, no matter what.
So I sincerely wish such edibles came in CHILD-PROOF PACKAGING with CLEAR LABELING.
Please, edible people! Regulate yourselves before hysterical politicians put you out of business!
I agree with your comment. All cannabis edibles should be clearly labeled in child-proof packaging, and kept away from unsuspecting kids and adults. Anyone possessing cannabis edibles should exercise all precautions to limit access to the unsuspecting. Every patient with whom I interact as a part of a location’s cancer program gets asked if they have children or often spend time around kids and then is offered a childproof bottle. If it looks like food, a childproof container must be provided. In my opinion, this step should be required. Childproofing only when applicable enables easier access to two other important groups, the elderly and differently-abled.
I once made a batch of brownies as an experiment - my flatmate basically lived on weed and coffee and it was pretty cheap in China, so he gave me a small bag to play with. It was stronger than I was expecting, so the half hour after I started feeling the effects felt like about 3. What made everything weirder was that my more experienced friends thought the brownies were great and ended up with a gentle buzz, then helpfully decided to go to the town and leave me alone - I had no idea how much time had passed and whether they had just left, were still there or had been gone for an hour. It was really weird and overpowering at the start, but not unpleasant once I’d accepted what was happening and decided to explore the effects a little. I haven’t tried it since, but I’m actually pleased it was a more intense experience than is usually recommended. Once I’d accepted that I was in a safe place, the substance wasn’t actually doing me any harm and I might as well enjoy the ride, it wasn’t different to relax (although who knows whether that would still have been the case if I had taken another brownie).
Consumers need to be educated. Every year thousands of people suffer from alcohol poisoning and end up in the hospital, how is this different? There are risks when ingesting any intoxicant that people should be aware of. Marijuana isn’t the problem. Edibles are not the problem.
Funny that this is still illegal though it helps so many: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/11/18/marijuana-brain-cancer_n_6181060.html?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000063