A Benefit of Bad Taste

A Benefit of Bad Taste 

bad taste.jpg

I know, I know. I have blogged about cannabis before. But I can’t help myself, because the issue is complex. On the one hand, there’s a strong case for regulation, which seems to go hand in hand with legalization (though, let’s be honest, it doesn’t have to). On the other hand is access. And because I am a pediatrician, increasingly early access to addictive drugs is a worry. I don’t care if that drug is legal or illegal, prescribed or over the counter – brains under construction are more likely to become addicted to substances.

Which brings me to this awesome post originally published in the Harvard Medical Blog. It walks through the myriad ways that people accidentally (or not so accidentally) ingest edible marijuana. It covers topics like the fact that since the onset of effects can take so much longer than anticipated, the risk of eating too much goes way up. I will tell you that doctors like me hear story after story about the person (sometimes it’s a kid, sometimes a counter-surfing adult) who snags some random piece of chocolate or gummy bear that’s sitting around the house and eats the candy and ends up in the emergency room.

I love the conclusion that if marijuana is meant to be medicinal, it should look like a medicine and taste like one, too. I get that the legalization movement isn’t aiming to medicalize cannabis, but come on. We repackaged laundry detergent pods when they were confused with candy, and they landed far fewer people in the hospital. It should be a no-brainer here, especially given that cannabis is currently available as a candy.

I’m not saying that if you live in a state where marijuana is legal for adults, you shouldn't get to make your own choice about how much you put into your body, when and how. I am arguing that unsuspecting people of all ages – yes, kids, but adults too – should be protected from exposure to a drug they don’t intend to ingest. Packaging edibles as medicines or even just making them taste horrible would go a long way to accomplish that.