For many parents and guardians already battling to prevent their teen and young adult offspring from wandering astray into substance abuse, there is a new danger: ‘edible’ marijuana. That is the subject of a new USA Today report that again points to the obstacles confronting concerned adults and professionals specializing in substance abuse intervention in Florida.
The report cites the experience of 30 year old casual marijuana smoker Kyle Naylor, who became intensely sick 80 minutes after his consumption of edible marijuana products, ostensibly in an attempt to lessen his anxiety and insomnia. By the 90 minute mark, he had started hyperventilating and required hospitalization.
He described the effect from smoking marijuana as “completely different than ingesting it”, and there’s no doubt that the same experience can be cited by many others to use the drug in this way. It looks set to become a more widespread problem, with Colorado having become the first state to legalize the recreational use of marijuana on January 1. Legal retail sales are also expected to begin in Washington state in the summer.
For decades, illegal marijuana-laced brownies have been a quiet fixture at certain social gatherings across the United States. Now, however, there are state-licensed stores with professionally manufactured candy, cola and granola edibles available to purchase, as pot smokers increasingly use commercially made edible products as well.
However, far from a straightforward story of ‘happy highs’, edible marijuana products have been associated with play online blackjack game two deaths causing Colorado lawmakers to rethink the regulations, while the increasing consumption of powerful pot-infused foods has led to warnings from experts of the bizarre behavior that can result.
There can be wide variations in the amount of marijuana that such edibles actually contain, say experts, with levels sometimes being high enough to cause extreme paranoia and anxiety, verging on psychosis. Users can feel like they’re dying, according to Genifer Murray of Colorado-approved marijuana potency testing lab CannLabs, adding that with the effects only kicking in at a delayed rate compared to smoking, marijuana edibles pose a high overdose risk to inexperienced users.
The longer period taken for the effects to occur is attributed to the pot being largely absorbed through the stomach rather than the lungs, and when they do arrive, they tend to last longer and be more intense, due to people inadvertently eating a greater amount than they’d intended. It’s easier for those smoking pot to regulate how stoned they are becoming, given how much more rapidly they get high.
It’s unsurprising, therefore, that marijuana edibles are attracting ever-greater attention from lawmakers, relating to their availability and how much THC – the compound of marijuana responsible for getting users high – they can actually contain. Nonetheless, these products are continuing to greatly concern experts, and are yet another source of worry for parents and guardians investigating options for teen and young adult substance abuse intervention in Florida.