[Adapted with permission from the Washington Poison Center]
Marijuana edibles are food items made with marijuana or infused with marijuana oils. Edibles may be an alternative to smoking or vaporizing marijuana. Edibles come in many forms, e.g. brownies, cookies, candies, including animal or fruit-shaped gummies, suckers and chocolates, and as beverages.
Why do edible marijuana products seem stronger?
The amount of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, can vary in edible marijuana products. This makes it harder to control how much THC is consumed. The amount of THC in homemade marijuana edibles can vary even more. Many users can be caught off-guard by the stronger potency and long-lasting effects of edibles.
Important safety guidelines:
- Start with a single 10mg (of THC) serving or less;
- Don't take more until you have waited at least 2 hours; edibles are slow-acting;
- Keep edibles far away from children and pets!
How are edibles sold in Washington marijuana stores?
The Washington State Liquor Control Board issued rules for edible packaging and labeling on June 24th, 2014. All marijuana edibles sold in Washington state recreational marijuana stores must be approved (both the product itself and its label) in advance. Packaging must not appeal to children by using cartoons, depictions of kids, or images of toys, and all edibles must be sold in child-resistant packaging (such as the 4mil sealed plastic packaging in the picture above). Additionally, the marijuana must be homogenized throughout the product, so that it is evenly distributed, and serving sizes must be clearly marked or scored on the product.
What is the recommended dosage for edibles?
Washington’s definition of one edible dose is 10 milligrams (mg) of THC. Some edibles have more than one dose of THC, and may come with directions to only consume part of the product. Eating too much of an edible may produce unwanted health effects. The effects of marijuana use of any kind can vary from person to person, and each person may have a different tolerance level. Always read the dosing recommendations and know exactly how much THC is in the edible.
Will ingesting marijuana affect me differently than smoking it?
Yes. Unlike smoking marijuana, where the effects can be felt almost immediately, effects from edibles can take from 30 minutes to 2 hours to take effect, and may last longer than expected, depending on the dose, when your last meal was consumed, and/or any medications or alcohol used at the same time.
Store edibles safely away from children and pets!
Accidental ingestion of marijuana and marijuana-infused edibles by children has increased in states that have legalized marijuana for recreational or medicinal use. It is extremely important store these products in child-resistant containers and out of reach of children and pets. (Hurley & Mazor 2013, Wang et al 2014, WAPC 2014).
Call the Washington Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222 immediately for medical advice if you are worried about the health and safety of yourself or others, or if your child has accidently eaten an edible. All calls are free and confidential.
Remember: Read the labels -- Go slowly -- Ask questions!
- Marijuana Edibles Facts & Your Health (Washington Poison Center)
- LearnAboutMarijuanaWA.org's Adult Consumers information
- Hurley W, Mazor S. Anticipated medical effects on children from legalization of marijuana in Colorado and Washington State: a poison center perspective. JAMA Pediatrics 2013;167(7):602-3. doi: 10.1001/jamapediatrics.2013.2273.
- Wang GS, et al. Association of unintentional pediatric exposures with decriminalization of marijuana in the United States. Annals of Emergency Medicine 2014;63(6):684-9. doi: 10.1016/j.annemergmed.2014.01.017.
- Washington Poison Center (WAPC) Cannabis Report, July 17, 2014.