With the legalization of marijuana throughout the country, it becomes pertinent to identify and understand the rules and regulations surrounding its consumption. With concentrated forms of cannabis, like edibles, these regulations are even more important. Improper consumption can lead to side effects that often leave the user debilitated and/or disoriented, which can be dangerous within a range of different contexts.
Colorado Marijuana Laws
Colorado has passed a comprehensive set of laws that address proper marijuana consumption. For instance, no individuals under the age of 18 can purchase marijuana-based products, even with a medical certification. Only individuals 18 or older can enter dispensaries, and even then, users between 18 and 21 must be medical users.
Colorado law regulates the volume of cannabis that any user can buy and/or possess at once. For actual cannabis flowers, this amount is one ounce. Recreational users cannot own more than one ounce at a time, though medical users can possess two ounces. By law, dispensaries also limit the amount of concentrated cannabis a user can possess and/or buy. This amount is 8 grams total of concentrate (ex. vape cartridges) and 800 mg of THC in any edible product. Dispensaries cannot sell any concentrated item over this limit.
Colorado also possesses a DUI law that makes it illegal for drivers to have more that 5 nanograms of THC in their system while driving. This applies to any form of cannabis consumption. Driving under the influence of marijuana can cause a serious car accident, so it’s important to keep that in mind when consuming any type of cannabis.
What’s the Difference Between Edibles and Smoking?
There is a significant difference in consuming edible marijuana products versus smoking the plant itself. Here are some of the most basic differences:
- Initiation Time: Smoking provides an immediate “high” while edibles take longer to produce therapeutic effects – between 30 minutes and two hours. This is because ingesting edibles requires the work of the whole gastrointestinal system. The body absorbs the active components of cannabis through the mucous membranes of the intestines rather than quickly passed via the alveolar membranes in the lungs, like how oxygen quickly passes into our bodies while breathing.
- Duration:Smoking cannabis produces effects that last between one and three hours. Consuming an edible will produce effects for twice this amount of time, typically between three and eight hours depending on the dosage.
- Intensity:Edible cannabis produces a different type of high than the cannabis plant. Users commonly described is as having a “deeper” effect that makes it easy to dose incorrectly.
Edible Safety Tips
It is extremely easy to consume too much of an edible at once. The cause, in part, is the lack of dosing associated with smoking, which most users try before ingesting cannabis. There is no way to detect how many milligrams of THC a user consumes through smoking, so many new edible users accidentally ingest too much, resulting in an uncomfortable and unsafe high.
- Start slow: Test your tolerance for edible cannabis by consuming only 10mg at a time. No matter how much you consume via any other method, always test your dosage first.
- Wait until you feel the effects of your first dose before consuming more. A safe time frame to wait before eating another 10mg is one hour.
- Eat first: There is a common myth that eating before taking an edible will hinder its effect. In reality, eating first achieves two goals: Preventing an upset stomach and activating the gallbladder before you ingest the edible. Activating the gallbladder increases the efficiency in which your system absorbs the edible.
- Drive safely: Edibles are extremely concentrated, making it very easy to surpass the 5 nanogram rule if you eat too much.
Edible cannabis is a great tool when used properly. Used improperly, and the user could turn away from these products citing that they are unpleasant. Everything is best in moderation – Colorado’s marijuana laws reflect this stance.