By Ryan Nerz
Ten sentences in to New York Times, columnist Maureen Dowd’s piece about trying marijuana edibles in Colorado (while admittedly cackling out loud), my sense of responsibility as a journalist and cannabis connoisseur kicked in. This was the sentence that triggered it: “I barely made it from the desk to the bed, where I lay curled up in a hallucinatory state for the next eight hours.”
Whoah! This is not as it should be, and barely even makes sense. If someone gave you an unknown glass of alcohol and told you to down it sans questions, would you? And when they revealed that it was Everclear while you coughed your lungs out, would you write an editorial about how people should be more clear about telling you what you’re drinking, even if you don’t ask? Dowd expands the conversation beyond her personal observations, and goes on to discuss the epidemic of suicides, murders and emergency room visits prompted by folks misusing edible marijuana treats in states like Colorado and Washington.
From my perspective, before we get into strategies for creating labels for pot edibles – Dowd suggests “maybe a stoned skull and bones?” – let’s start with something a bit more practical.
Here’s my step-by-step guide to eating weed edibles:
1. Don’t buy or eat an edible if it doesn’t clearly state how much THC is inside. If it’s a candy bar, it should be divided into partitions (a la a Hershey bar), and you should do the math to determine the amount of THC is in each partition.
2. If you don’t use weed regularly, start with five mg of THC. If you’re the adventurous type, try 10 mg. But no more. Then wait 30-45 minutes. How do you feel? If you feel groovy, try moving up by five mg increments – waiting a half-hour in between – but do not exceed a total of 15 mg of THC. That’s basically the equivalent of smoking a small joint of middle-grade weed on your own. That should do. 20 mg could get you into Dowd Meltdown territory.
3. If you’re a regular weed user, start with 10 mg of THC. Wait 30-45 minutes. Monitor your stoned-ness, and try moving up by 5-10 mg of THC, but don’t go past 25-30 mg of THC. If you’re approaching 40 mg of THC and you haven’t reached the orbit level you’re used to, you might just have a problem.
At the end of the article, the owner of a pot edible company makes the following observation about why warnings might not solve this weed edible overdose problem: “My kids put rocks and batteries in their mouths.”
Be an adult about edibles. If you know how much chardonnay to drink, figure out how much weed to eat. If you don’t, it’s kind of on you if you end up in the fetal position in your hotel shower.