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Snack Weed

Medibles offer another way to experience CBD and THC
Baker Bros Chef Lily Tippin. Photo by Todd Cooper.
Baker Bros Chef Lily Tippin. Photo by Todd Cooper.

Among the salves, tinctures and bits of shatter, crumble and jars of flower, you’ll see snack items that at first glance would not appear out of place on a shelf at Safeway. These are known as medibles — a portmanteau of marijuana and edible — and they take the form of cookies, gummies, taffy and even soda.

“Edibles are convenient and discreet,” says Willamette Valley Alchemy co-owner Brice Sherman. “People can take them and not have to deal with the smell. They’re kind of a good entry point into cannabis for many.” 

Sherman, whose extract company also dabbles in medibles, suspects that edibles appeal to an older demographic because they’re a way around the stigma sometimes associated with smoking or inhaling.

On the food front, Willamette Valley Alchemy offers a line of gummy candies called Retreats. If you’re enrolled in Oregon’s medical marijuana program, then you’re allowed to purchase the 100-milligram packages. Recreational buyers have to settle for 50 mg or 15 mg packages due to state regulations.  

Once you’ve cleared the biggest hurdle, which is just gathering up the gumption to walk into the weed shop to make a weed-snack purchase, you now have to decide how much to eat. And it’s an important decision.

“We find with how the laws are set up, with 5 mg being a dose, 5 mg is an awesome starting point for anyone wanting to try edibles,” Sherman says.

If you know you can handle it, there is absolutely nothing wrong with eating an entire gummy. But if you’re just starting out, read the packaging for instructions on how split the gummy up into manageable doses.

Also providing medibles for the residents of Eugene and beyond is Wild West Growers, a joint (haha) venture featuring Jim and Bob Jenson and Jason Boyer, who are also involved in other business endeavors in Eugene such as the Wild Duck Café near the University of Oregon campus.

“We do chocolates, cookies, capsules — CBD [cannabidiol] and THC [yetrahydrocannabinol]. The CBD capsules are good for pain relief and general relaxation,” Jim Jenson says.

Where cookies are concerned, they have a Baker Bros. brand offering ready-to-eat cookies as well as a take-and-bake CBD (non-psychoactive) brownie mix. 

Jenson also says that if you start with 5 mg and go from there, you can have “safe fun” in an altered state of consciousness. He adds that the Oregon Liquor Control Commission “is doing a great job” where the rules and regulations are concerned.

“Edibles are great for people who don’t want to smoke,” Boyer says, adding that they are easier to dose and typically result in a longer high than if you smoke or vape. “It’s easy to take more, but you can’t take it back. And you should always do it in a safe environment.”

Those looking to attack marijuana's legitimacy often point to high-profile incidents of marijuana poisoning. According to fact checking group Politifact.org there have been no overdose deaths associated with marijuana use, but there are documented cases where it likely led to accidental fatalities. And there have been three deaths in Colorado in which edible pot was ingested. 

But in Oregon, the stats are clear: We are not being poisoned in large numbers by weed. 

The numbers were creeping upward ever since cannabis possession was legalized in Oregon in 2015, and did peak at about 118 calls to the Oregon Poison Center (OPC) during the second quarter of 2016, when early sales of recreational edibles began.

But those numbers have trended downward for the past three quarters, with the first quarter of 2017 yielding 58 calls to the OPC. 

This downward trend could be attributed in part to the strict exit-bag and child-resistant container regulations, as well as the 100 mg and 50 mg cap on medical and recreational edibles, respectively, rolled out by the state in October 2016. 

But according to the data, the downward slide in marijuana-related calls to the OPC started in the quarter prior. Perhaps the public had just been curious and excited about weed, and people were getting a little too carried away.

It’s hard to say, but it seems like the Oregon marijuana market might now be finding a balance between safe and fun.