Keef Kat, Boddahfinger, and other marijuana edibles — how should they be regulated

March 20, 2015, 1:04 pm

marijuana edibles


Half-Baked — The Retail Promotion of Marijuana Edibles. MacCoun RF, Mello MM. N Engl J Med 2015 Mar 12;372:989-991.

Full Text

This Perspective piece — from authors at the Stanford Schools of Law and Medicine — discusses problems raised by the increasing availability of marijuana edibles in some states. Often, these products are manufactured in forms that are enticing to children (such as cookies, candy bars, and gummy bears) and packaged to look like familiar consumer products. It have written about this problem previously in several columns for Emergency Medicine News — to read them, click here and here.

The authors point out an interesting paradox. Marijuana is still classified as a Schedule I drug by the federal government. This means that it is considered as being:

  •  a high risk for abuse
  •  without medical value, and
  • unsafe

As long as this is the case, the Food and Drug Administration can not regulate marijuana as a drug. In addition, as spell out in the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act of 1938, food products can not contain ingredients not “generally recognized as safe.” This means that the FDA can not regulate the THC content or packaging of marijuana edibles by considering them as foods.

Recently, three U.S. senators — Rand Paul, Cory Booker, and Kristin Gillibrand — proposed legislation reclassifying marijuana as a Schedule II drug. This may actually have the effect of increasing regulation.

The authors proposed several requirements aimed at decreasing inadvertent overdose from marijuana edibles in children and adults:

  • child-resistant packaging (this is already required in many states)
  • clear labeling about doses, serving sizes, and risks
  • regulate degree to which marijuana edibles and look and taste like familiar products
  • standardized THC content

The authors don’t mention that last month many similar reforms went into effect in the state of Colorado.

And, by the way, I did not overlook the appropriateness of the second author’s last name.

[Photo of marijuana edibles from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency]

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