SANTA CRUZ, Calif - In states that have legalized cannabis like Colorado, Washington and Oregon, some people have had to go to the emergency room after eating too many edibles, but the hope is through education this can be avoided in Santa Cruz as recreation cannabis sales are set to begin Jan 1.
Cookies, gummies even drinks -- there are all kinds of foods infused with cannabis. Santa Cruz resident Bennett Williamson doesn't use edibles often, but when he does, he prefers chocolate covered espresso beans.
“They are a nice way get some of the effects and the relaxation associated with cannabis without all the gear that you might need,” Williamson said.
Williamson’s advice is to start slow and have a low dose.
“Do less, always do less,” said Williamson. “Everyone makes that same mistake of like ‘I don’t feel anything’ and then you take more and it goes overboard.”
That advice is echoed by Christopher Carr with Kind Peoples Collective, especially because eating an edible can be four to six times more potent than traditional methods, like smoking, according to Carr.
"The chemistry is what is different, we are trying to make it very clear to the public that when you ingest cannabis it's a different chemistry from when you use it in the traditional ways," Carr said.
In Colorado, some reports show ER visits involving marijuana doubled from 2013 to 2014 and to avoid that in Santa Cruz, Carr wants customers to be informed.
"The goal is to set people up for success and have a positive experience so they can use cannabis for wellness."
In addition to starting with a low dose, you’ll need to be patient, sometimes up to two hours before the effects are felt. Also, don't drive and don't mix with alcohol. Williamson has another piece of advice.
"If I have my friend’s kids around I will make sure I will put it away so they can't get it," Williamson said.
The state has also issues a couple different laws to try to prevent any problems. All edibles will need to be under 100 milligrams of THC per package and clearly marked. Also, packaging cannot be attractive to children or use the word “candy.”