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May Wilkerson May Wilkerson

Maureen Dowd Tried Pot Edibles and Had a Very Bad Trip

4 Substance

“The caramel-chocolate flavored candy bar looked so innocent, like the Sky Bars I used to love as a child,” writes New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, as she details her first experience with marijuana edibles in her weekly op-ed.

The journalist, known for her biting political commentary, traveled to Denver, Colorado to cover the state’s legal pot scene. She ended up having a very bad trip.

Dowd says she “nibbled” on the THC-infused candy bar in her hotel room but for the first hour she “felt nothing.” She then decided to order room-service and “return to my more mundane drugs of choice, chardonnay and mediocre-movies-on-demand” (Times columnists! they’re just like Us!).

That’s when the THC began to take effect, and she describes what happened next in gory details:

“I felt a scary shudder go through my body and brain. I barely made it from the desk to the bed, where I lay curled up in a hallucinatory state for the next eight hours. I was thirsty but couldn’t move to get water. Or even turn off the lights. I was panting and paranoid, sure that when the room-service waiter knocked and I didn’t answer, he’d call the police and have me arrested for being unable to handle my candy.”

Sounds like a pretty typical incident of pot-induced paranoia—only Dowd doesn’t seem like she enjoyed it, at all. Throughout the evening, she says, her paranoia “deepened” and “I became convinced that I had died and no one was telling me.” The problem, she believes, is that she was a little green to the sport of marijuana use. ”I reckoned that the fact that I was not a regular marijuana smoker made me more vulnerable, and that I should have known better,” she writes.

It’s not an uncommon problem. As Jack Healy reported in The Times this past weekend, Colorado is starting to see “the downside” of legalizing recreational marijuana. Hospitals are “treating growing numbers of children and adults sickened by potent doses of edible marijuana.” Kids should not be eating pot-edibles, period (child-proof your pot cookies, people!). But even adults are encountering trouble because many people, like Maureen Dowd, are inexperienced in the art of marijuana consumption.

“The whole industry was set up for people who smoked frequently,” Healy writes, “It needs to learn how to educate new users in the market. We have to create a culture of responsibility around edibles, so people know what to expect to feel.”

In related anecdotes, my dad once had a nervous breakdown after eating a few pieces of marijuana cake while hiking on Mount Everest (he was “really hungry”). So the motto is: we need to better educate our elders on how to handle their weed-edibles. Their well-being is in our hands.