One of the fastest growing segments of the medicinal marijuana industry in California has been pot in the form of edibles. Marijuana dispensaries all over the state now provide THC in an immense array of products such as candies, cookies, crackers, breath mints and even potato chips. Edibles are now a popular way for people to get their dose of THC without ever having to inhale any smoke. Just a decade ago, edibles were rare and only distributed in a handful of food products infused with marijuana. Now edibles have become 43 percent of the market share and continue to grow every day as people keep experimenting with different foods and forms of cannabis.
Concerns about a Growing Industry
The edibles industry will likely expand much more following the recent legalization of recreational pot in California. Sale of recreational marijuana is expected to begin next year but many young entrepreneurs are already looking for ways to enter the edibles market with unique products. People want to differentiate themselves to become part of the edibles movement by creating their own niche such as vegan baked goods infused with THC. Edibles can be especially helpful for patients who suffer from chronic pain because it allows them to easily take a dose during the time when they are in high levels of pain. However, many people are concerned about the rise of edibles, the possibility of addiction and the tendency for young people to overdose and end up in the emergency room. Taking edibles recreationally can be problematic in some cases because people who are inexperienced may not understand the correct dosage and end up taking too much. This has caused a significant increase in emergency room visits related to edible ingestion in states where marijuana is legal.
Preventing Harm from Edibles
There are more fears about edibles beyond adults accidentally becoming too intoxicated. Because edibles are often in the form of sweets and candies that look like normal food, there is a significant dangers that very young children may ingest them. If a parent leaves them at home and doesn’t take enough measures to secure them properly the child may unknowingly eat several and become poisoned. Some states have allowed certain products like gummies and require edibles to have child-resistant packaging that’s opaque such as prescription type bottles. California lawmakers are concerned that this may not be enough to deter children from eating cannabis laced candy and they have proposed a bill to crack down on these types of edibles. Assemblyman Rudy Salas has proposed that they stop making edibles look like candy altogether because it is too appealing to unsuspecting children. He wants to make sure that edibles are used by adults only and don’t end up causing harm.
The issues surrounding children and edibles are not just preventative measures, there have already been cases of accidental ingestion. California emergency room doctors have seen small children even younger than the age of 2 all the way up to teenagers who mistakenly take edibles. The kids believe that they are simply normal gummy bears, life savers or chocolate bars and they end up getting intoxicated. In order to combat this growing problem, the new proposed Assembly Bill 350 that will be up for a senate vote would ban edibles that resemble humans, animals, insects, fruit or other commonly used shapes associated with regular candy. Lawmakers worry that edibles are made to look like candy intentionally to appeal to kids, similar to the way the tobacco industry used to market cigarettes to young people. They hope that this new bill is passed in order to slow or halt the rise in accidental ingestions in children.
Effects of Overdose
Although the bill if passed would ban certain kinds of edibles, the rise of the industry overall is not likely to stop. Edibles for the most part have been considered a positive addition to medicinal marijuana dispensaries especially for people who deal with legitimate medical issues such as pain or insomnia. However, there are plenty of adults who experience unfortunate side effects from edibles or unwittingly overdose causing them to become frighteningly intoxicated. Only two years ago in Colorado a 19 year old student leapt to his death from a four story hotel after consuming a marijuana cookie. Another 23 year old Oklahoma native shot himself after consuming 5 times the recommended dosage of an edible. Stories like these may not represent the majority of edible users but they do suggest that this type of marijuana should be consumed with as much caution as possible. It is important for all edible users to strictly follow the recommended dose and avoid taking more because they don’t feel the effects yet. Edibles can take at least one but at times several hours to take effect. As long as edibles are used in moderation and kept away from children, they are likely to be a staple in the marijuana industry for some time.