Colorado Tries to Prevent People From Overdosing on Marijuana Edibles

Colorado health officials are trying to find a way to prevent people from overdosing on marijuana edibles. The products have been implicated in two suicides and one murder in the past 13 months, according to The Denver Post.

Almost five million edibles were sold in Colorado stores last year. The Denver Post commissioned lab tests of 10 popular brands, and found edibles’ highs are more delayed and long-lasting than smoking or vaporizing marijuana. Some brands severely mismeasure the potency of their products, the newspaper found.

“There’s a learning curve for consumers of edibles,” Art Way, Colorado’s state director of the pro-legalization group Drug Policy Alliance, told the newspaper. “We cannot escape the issue of personal responsibility. That said, the industry should do all that is reasonable in the formative years of marijuana legalization to combat concerns around edibles.”

The state has standardized edibles’ warning labels, and mandated that 10-milligram doses of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, be individually wrapped. Colorado is also running educational campaigns about proper use of edibles. A mandatory lab-testing program requires edible companies to test each batch for potency.

New rules for edibles are due January 1. While they may help reduce accidental ingestions, it is unclear if they will stop people from eating too much, too fast, critics contend.

Edible marijuana products have become a popular alternative to smoking marijuana in Colorado, since retail sales of the products became legal. Adults 21 and over can legally purchase marijuana edibles at state-licensed stores. Marijuana is now available in products ranging from candy to soda and granola. The amount of marijuana in edible products varies widely. In some cases, products contain levels so high that people experience extreme paranoia and anxiety.

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    Dave Finch

    April 22, 2015 at 2:47 PM

    Commercialization of pot whether for smoking or eating has shown itself to be a terrible idea and taxation is just another form of restriction that promotes the business of small time illicit dealers so accessible to teenagers. We need a system that dispenses these drugs to adults in a tightly controlled order/delivery program with regular counseling and controls to prevent access by kids. It seems, as Winston Churchill said: Americans always do the right thing right after exhausting all the other options.

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    Ron G

    April 16, 2015 at 1:12 PM

    And let’s not forget about how many suicides and murders are alcohol related.

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    Jose G. Carreon

    April 16, 2015 at 12:15 AM

    Mankind has been using mind altering drugs for centuries.
    Two things have always happen
    1 There is always a price to pay ( mind, body, relationships, social consequences, legal consequences etc.)
    2. In all those years, the sin tax has never worked. No tax entity has ever made money on sin taxes when you add up what the over all costs lead up to. The net gain is always in the negative. Take alcohol and cigarettes, people are making money on it in the billions but America as a whole is losing money and people due to it.
    Making Marijuana legal and taxing it will be no different. People will make billions but America as a whole will lose, come up in the negative.

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    John Byrom

    April 14, 2015 at 12:32 PM

    Here is another example. All we hear is the tax revenues but we never hear of is how much the state is spending. “Colorado is also running educational campaigns about proper use of edibles”, we know they have a great increase on the welfare roles, large black market, and the federal government spending $80 million on a PSA prevention campaine. The youth use rate is closing in on 50%.

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