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Marijuana Edible Serving Size

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“I ate way too many edibles this one time,” said every stoner, ever. For real. Everyone I know who enjoys the occasional edible has a similar horror story—one they look back on with an embarrassed shake of the head—because eating one milligram too many is an easy thing to do. So, as a stopgap, I’m going to share my story with you, and then I’ll tell you how to avoid the same mistake. Here it is:

I have my medical card, so I have to be especially careful—The Greenery is a recreational-only dispensary, so our edibles are limited to ten milligrams of THC per serving, but the medical shops around town don’t live under the same restrictions: I’ve seen them sell one-hundred-milligram brownies that’re small enough to eat in one bite, and that’s just scary, when you think about it (but I’ll get to that in a second).

Before I hired on here, I shopped at a medical place downtown. The sour gummies they sold were my favorite. Each gummy was ten milligrams, and two of them would put me exactly where I needed to be. But this one time (see?), the company that made my favorite sour gummies doubled their per-piece dosage. Nobody told me. And I’d just made it through an especially trying week, so I decided to have three gummies instead of two, because, you know… dumb. Anyway, as soon as the flavor faded from my mouth after gummy-number-three, something on the package caught my eye. I read on. And then the “oh shit” bubble appeared over my head as I realized I’d just eaten sixty milligrams instead of a hearty thirty. I got a glass of water and hunkered down with my afghan. Crazy things were coming…

I’m going to take a break here and tell you what you’re supposed to do if you eat too many edibles: stay hydrated, and remind yourself that the world isn’t ending. Pot isn’t anything like alcohol or narcotics, and for an adult, it impossible to overdose, even on edibles. All you need to do is find a safe place, drink water, and weather the storm, because nothing about marijuana is permanent. Anyway, let’s get back to it…

My story doesn’t end like a few of the good ones I’ve heard: I didn’t end up marooned in a tree or lost topless at a music festival. But I did end up on my bed, small and bundled as I fought the panic with the fetal position. I’m not going to minimize the feeling just because I’m a proponent of selling edibles to people; it’s my job to be honest with you and that’s what I’m going to do.

That night, it felt like my brain was interdimensional.

The world around me shrank and expanded, and I lost communication with my extremities somewhere along the way—there were dizzying thoughts and tumbling worries, and I just wanted it to end. Of course, I eventually passed out after an hour that was amusing only in retrospect, and the next morning, everything was right as rain. I didn’t even have a marijuana hangover, because they don’t exist. But I’ll tell you here and now that taking sixty milligrams of edible marijuana is something I’ll never do again.

But really, that doesn’t do you any good because everyone is different when it comes to edibles. We all have different metabolisms. So, while sixty milligrams might be a Hunter S. Thompson novel for me, the same dosage might not do a damn thing for you: everyone must find their own dosage. The trick is to take it slowly and not be reckless (you know, pretty much the way you’re supposed to live life), because if you do it right, an edible high is a wonderful, warm thing that you’ll want to relive over and over. So, I recommend that you start by taking a single serving, or less, and then gauge the effects. As I mentioned, at recreational shops in Colorado, everything tops out at ten milligrams per serving and one-hundred milligrams per package, so the “single serving” you should start with is ten milligrams. I rarely repeat myself or use bold typeface, but this occasion warrants a break from tradition.

Secondly, after you eat those ten milligrams, wait a solid hour before even thinking about eating more. That boldness was justified, too. For most people, it takes an entire hour before edibles start affecting the brain, and it takes two hours before you feel the full effect; the last thing you want to do is get impatient and toss more kindling into the fire. And after an hour, if the effect isn’t strong enough, remember that THC is lipid-soluble. If you’re not feeling anything, eat a handful of peanuts or half an avocado; the healthy fat will get down there and help the pot do its magic; it’s a symbiotic trick that’ll save you from an experience like mine.

Third, if you’re small like my wife, I’d recommend taking it a step further and halving that “single serving.” At The Greenery, we sell quite a few edibles that come in five milligram servings—like Highly Edible Pucks or Mountain High Sweet Pieces or Dixie Mints—and if you have a low THC tolerance, this might be the place to start.

And lastly, don’t feel like you need to remember all of this, and please don’t let it scare you away from a good time. Edible marijuana is the greatest invention since marijuana-infused sliced bread (learn how to bake it here), and all you need to do is be responsible when you experiment. As to remembering it all, at The Greenery, every single one of our budtenders knows what you just read—if you have questions, come in and ask them. If you buy edibles, and you’re interested, we’ll even throw into your bag a cheat-sheet that talks that talks about dosages and times so you don’t have to take notes. That’s the least we can do, because we’re Your Best Buds, and we want you to have a safe, enjoyable, edible time.

Children and Marijuana

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You can pick your platitude—oil and water, family and business, drinking and texting—because they all work: children and marijuana don’t mix. Trust me, I’m speaking from experience: I was one of those not-so-good children who started smoking way too early, and I have a precocious teen who smells a little suspicious from time to time. She’ll walk in our door after a night out and start being super nice, which for a teen, is a dead giveaway that something is amiss (the red eyes and copious amounts of perfume round out the trifecta of obviously-stoned-minor). Of course, I tell her that smoking pot at such a young age isn’t the best of ideas, and of course, she always comes back with the classic teenaged rejoinder: “dad, you smoke, and you work in a dispensary, so you’re a hypocrite.” But am I? Am I failing to practice what I preach, as my daughter would have you believe, or am I making a prudent parenting choice by yelling “hell no” every time my daughter thinks it’s okay to ask her parent who works in this industry for marijuana? Well, I’ll tell you the same thing I tell her, and let you decide. And if you’re a parent, please take notes because this information might come in handy.

The first issue to consider is addiction. Most professionals in my situation will tell you that marijuana isn’t addictive, and to an extent, this is true because all the studies out there show that the human body doesn’t become chemically dependent on cannabis, even after long-term use. As a side note, did you know that it’s actually possible to die from alcohol addiction withdrawals? Crazy, right? Anyway, while marijuana might not be chemically addictive (like every other recreational drug known to man), I will admit that it’s possible to become emotionally addicted to pot. For the record, it’s also possible to become emotionally addicted to donuts, and diabetes will kill you, so I’d still argue that pot is safe for adults.

The National Institute for Drug Abuse calls an emotional addiction to weed “marijuana use disorder,” and as a parent, it’s important to know that teens who start smoking at a young age are four to seven times more likely to develop this condition. The reason for this is simple: the frontal lobe of a child’s brain (the place where decisions happen) isn’t fully developed. If a child makes a decision, like using marijuana as a coping mechanism, and the decision turns out to feel beneficial, the choice becomes validated mentally and the teen becomes more likely to make the same decision over and over again. The teen will start to rely on marijuana as a crutch because it worked out the first time—this same thing can happen with alcohol and sex and all the other things we try to steer our children away from. That’s why it’s important to have an adult’s maturity and life experience before smoking pot: we know what’s responsible and right, just as we know what’s just a temporary fix, like getting high.

The health risks associated with marijuana use also need to be considered. The truth is that we just don’t know what happens to children when they smoke because it hasn’t been studied sufficiently. True, we know for a fact that medical marijuana offers a much better alternative to traditional pharmaceuticals when it comes to treating seizures, the pain and appetite loss associated with cancer, and many other illnesses that befall the young, but we really don’t know what stems from chronic recreational marijuana use by children. The experts say it might interfere with cognitive development or that it might lead to a lower IQ, but only time will tell. And that’s why it’s important to arm yourself with something better than “I’m a grownup and it’s legal for me, and you’re a kid who will get in trouble, so that’s why I can smoke and you cannot.” Teens will rebel against such a line with all the angst in their arsenal, and it’s important to tell them the truth: children who use marijuana might become dependent or underdeveloped mentally, and they don’t have the maturity needed to make good decisions about repetitive marijuana use because their brains aren’t as developed as an adult’s. Saying something like this to your child will shut them right up because no amount of teenaged attitude will defeat facts and logic, and there’s no way they’ll be able to call you a hypocrite.

At The Greenery, we take this issue very, very seriously. We’re stewards of this industry, and quite a few of us are parents; we don’t want our kids smoking pot just like we don’t want your kids smoking pot. We card everyone who walks through our door, and if the ID doesn’t prove that someone is twenty-one-years old, we kick that someone out our door with quickness. But this doesn’t mean that we don’t support an adult’s right to smoke marijuana openly if they have children. That’s why we provide for parents in our dispensary educational pamphlets on how to talk to your teen about marijuana, that’s why we write blogs like this one, and that’s why we’ll take the time with any customer who asks to talk about being responsible with marijuana around children. Doing so is completely possible. We recommend that adults keep their marijuana locked away from their children, just like a responsible parent would do with alcohol and firearms. And believe it or not, there’re products on the market designed to help you get it done. There’re lockable, odor-proof stashboxes out there like this one—hell, there’re even safes out there like this one that’re designed specifically for keeping marijuana edibles in the refrigerator. All the tools you’ll need to be a responsible, marijuana-smoking parent are out there; you just need to look, and you just need to ask. So please, do exactly that. Come in to The Greenery and pick up one of the pamphlets I mentioned, or ask one of our budtenders about ways to keep your marijuana use discrete. We’ll give you the tools and advice you need, because that’s what Your Best Buds are for.