Health officials report legal marijuana edible products have been linked to two recent deaths and an increase in emergency room visits in Colorado, Fox News reports. Edibles include marijuana-laced baked goods, candies and beverages.
The effects of marijuana edibles begin more slowly than the smoked version of the drug, according to Dr. George Sam Wang of Children’s Hospital Colorado. Once the effects begin, they tend to last longer, he said. “One of the dangers that we’ve been seeing with adult recreational retail use is they’ll take the recommended dose, wait, feel no effects and then continue to stack doses. Then before they know it they have a pretty large amount in their system and then they get potentially pretty severe effects,” Dr. Wang noted.
A college student who had never tried marijuana before ate the recommended dose of one-sixth of a marijuana-laced cookie last month. He felt no effects, and then ate the whole cookie—six times the recommended dose. He later jumped off a hotel balcony and died, according to the article. The student’s autopsy report listed “marijuana intoxication” as a contributing factor in his death.
According to Colorado State Representative Jonathan Singer, about 40 percent of the marijuana industry consists of edible products. The products must be sold in child-proof packaging. Labels must state how much of marijuana’s psychoactive ingredient THC is in the product. Singer is co-sponsoring a bill that would require marijuana edibles to have a recognizable symbol on the product, so it can be easily identified even when it is out of the child-resistant packaging.
Childrens Hospital Colorado saw eight cases of marijuana intoxication in children last year. The hospital has seen eight more cases in just the first few months of 2014, according to Dr. Wang. Six of the children had to be admitted to critical care.