As marijuana edibles grow in popularity, caution is urged

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PHOTO: Pot Chocolate Bars
Mile Higher chocolate bars made at Incredibles kitchen in Denver ready to be packaged.

One would require producers to clearly label their products as containing marijuana, something they currently have to do only on packaging, and it would bar them from creating treats that deliberately mimic mainstream products marketed to children.

Instead, the lawmaker points to an increase in hospital admissions for kids accidentally consuming edibles.

Incredibles founding partner Bob Eschino says his company has seen exponential growth in the last few years.

Eschino says he doesn’t worry as much about medical patients, because they are familiar and experienced with high-dose edibles. It’s the many recreational users who are new to the world of edibles who worry him, so much so that his company has started manufacturing a very low-dose chocolate bar, marketed to new consumers.

“You’ve got to start slow, you’ve got to treat it responsibly,” Prichard says. “You’re not going to go out, if you haven’t drank in 10 years, and grab a bottle of Jager and finish the whole thing are, ya?”

Parents of teenagers say it’s not that simple.

“You think that they really care about that?” Smart Colorado’s Gina Carbone says. “These are kids whose brains are still developing and unfortunately it’s going to hurt them the very most.”

Smart Colorado is group that advocates for restrictions on the marijuana industry

Carbone says the edibles market is dangerous and state regulators should be deeply concerned about high-potency marijuana treats that resemble familiar candies, like peanut butter cups.

“The places selling these products and the companies making these products need to be held accountable,” Carbone says.

Ensuring a good experience

Denver toxicologist Dr Michael Kosnett says child-proof packaging standards set by the state should help keep kids away from infused products, but he warns that even for adults, edible marijuana can be a risky experience. He describes food as a wildly inconsistent drug delivery method, where potency can change depending on numerous variables, like body chemistry, the quality of the product and recent meals.

“The potential for misadventures and adverse consequences increases,” Kosnett says.

At Lodo Wellness, a retail marijuana store in downtown Denver, manager Hailey Andrews says her budtenders are careful to explain the nuances of edibles and urge customers to follow dosing instructions on the packaging.

“We want everybody to have a good time,” Andrews says. “We don’t want anybody to leave here and have a strange-feeling experience.”