When the Muppets’ Cookie Monster grumbles, “Me want cookie! Om nom nom nom,” his mouth-stuffing antics delight children and parents alike. But in Colorado, where recreational marijuana is legal and marijuana-laced cookies and other consumables account for 45 percent of the drug’s sales, marijuana cookies can turn into lethal monsters.
That’s because some pot-laced cookie-eaters get impatient when there’s a lag time between ingesting the drug and feeling its effects (it takes 30-60 minutes), so they eat more and more, until they’ve gobbled a mega-dose. Just recently the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report about an emotionally stable young man who started shaking, screaming and throwing things before leaping off a roof in Denver last year, all because he ate one or two THC-laced cookies. The recommended dose — a sixth of a cookie — didn’t seem to be having an effect, so he ate six to 12 times that amount. And besides, who can eat a sixth of a cookie? (Several states have approved capsules and gummi bears for people with end-stage disease, and Colorado and Washington are experimenting with them for the general public.)
Legal or not, around 20 million North Americans say they’ve used marijuana in the past month. So it’s important that you and your kids know the risks. Teens who use pot may permanently impair their brain’s ability to retain learning, form memories and think clearly. And regular use is associated with depression, anxiety and relationship problems.
The best highs? Endorphins from exercise, and dopamine and oxytocin from great-tasting, good-for-you food, friendship, laughter and love.
Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic.