Edible marijuana basics

Edible marijuana (cannabis) is any product intended to be consumed orally that also contains marijuana as an ingredient. This category of marijuana product will be legal in both Washington State and Colorado, and may include a range of food types, including baked goods, drinks, candies, ingredients (such as oil or butter), or pills.

Edible marijuana products that are eaten have a number of key differences from marijuana that is ingested by smoking. These differences make edible products more or less attractive depending on the user:

  • Fewer restrictions on consumption: In both states, the restrictions on smoking marijuana are much more limiting than restrictions on smoking tobacco. While neither state allows you to legally consume marijuana publicly, and many hotels may forbid the smoking of tobacco or marijuana products. However, those same hotels will likely allow guests to consume edible marijuana products.
  • Less conspicuous consumption: To the casual observer, a food or drink item containing marijuana looks just like a food or drink item that doesn't contain marijuana.
  • Different intoxicating effects: Marijuana that is eaten and enters the digestive system is processed differently than marijuana that is smoked and enters the lungs. Compared to marijuana that is smoked, initial effects of orally consumed marijuana may be delayed, intoxicating effects may occur over a much longer time period, and the effects of the intoxication may be different.
  • Different purchase limits: While recreational marijuana that is meant to be smoked is sold by weight, edible products are sold by the amount of THC in the product. In both Washington and Colorado, consumers can purchase edible products in packages or servings that include no more than a total of 100 milligrams of active THC.
  • Suggested serving size: While consumers can purchase edible marijuana containing up to 100 milligrams of active THC, the suggested serving size is 10 milligrams of THC.

Biggest hazard of edible marijuana
The early experiences of legal recreational marijuana in Colorado suggest that perhaps the biggest hazard is the delayed effects and how that may affect consumption. In a July 1, 2014 article from Al Jazeera, Sheriff Bill Masters of San Miguel County in Colorado said the following:

"People don't understand how to use [infused marijuana products]. They eat a cookie and nothing happens ... so they eat another cookie, and pretty soon they've taken 10 times the dose level recommended and they're paranoid and think they're going to die. Those kinds of people are impacting the emergency medical services to a higher degree."


Other marijuana resources

Edible marijuana basics
http://airsafe.com/issues/marijuana/edibles.htm -- Revised 13 July 2014