Maureen Dowd's Marijuana Edibles Problem—and Mine


Jacob Sullum

It has been six months since Colorado's state-licensed pot shops started opening, and in the absence of any noticeable catastrophe critics recently have been highlighting the special hazards posed by marijuana edibles. In my latest Forbes column, I argue that the solution to the risk of accidental overindulgence lies in variety and information, rather than arbitrary limits. Here is how it starts:

During a recent trip to Colorado, I sat on the cold hard floor of my hotel bathroom in the middle of the night, thinking about Maureen Dowd. The New York Times columnist had been widely mocked for eating too much marijuana-infused chocolate, which left her "curled up in a hallucinatory state for the next eight hours." And not in a good way. "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," Dowd wrote last month. "I strained to remember where I was or even what I was wearing, touching my green corduroy jeans and staring at the exposed-brick wall. As my paranoia deepened, I became convinced that I had died and no one was telling me."

My own marijuana overdose was not nearly so dramatic. But I clearly had eaten one sour gummy candy too many. When I got up from bed to use the bathroom shortly after midnight, I was so dizzy that I had to sit down. I sat/fell hard enough to leave an impressive-looking bruise on my lower back. I know because during my massage with cannabis-infused lotion a few days later the masseuse remarked on it, which prompted me to tell her the whole embarrassing story, the moral of which is that edibles are indeed tricky, but consumers are not quite as helpless as Dowd portrays them.

Read the whole thing.

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  1. I can’t believe I associate with this guy:

    The far right spin machine is amazing. Who else could turn policies of discrimination and medical neglect into “Religious Freedom”?

    This country is great because you won’t ( or shouldn’t) be discriminated for your religion or denied the ability to practice it.

    This country falls on its face when it allows that group to dictate policies of essentially hate based on their religious doctrine.

    Now I’m no political scientist, but in practical terms how can a sovereign nations laws be forced to comply with books, rules and laws generated outside of its borders?

    I would LOVE it if all of the politicians and municipalities which have come out with statements and laws condemning and banning Sharia Law would do the same for Christian “Law”.

    1. Sad. A beta progressive, the worst kind.

    2. Typical lefty spin. Accuse your opponents of doing what you are doing yourself. Some here accuse them of projecting. Personally I think much of it is deliberate and calculated.

      You associate with that guy? Advise him to mix two tablespoons of old fashioned powdered drano in a cup of water and gulp it down quickly.

      1. If he would shut the fuck up about his political beliefs, he would be great. Unfortunately since he cannot, I am afraid it is best to avoid him in the future.

        1. I used to have lefty friends who talked politics all the time, but they avoid me now. My disagreement about forcing people to pay for things that they neither want nor need makes me intolerant, and good lefties don’t tolerate intolerant people.

          1. There’s something tragic about genuinely goodhearted and tolerable people making a show of their political ignorance. On the one hand political disagreements are just so much inconsequential blather, but on the other the condescension of preachy lefties is just insufferable.

            1. I don’t have any lefty friends anymore because I would use logic and reason to crush their emotional arguments, leaving them with nothing to do but hurl insults. Occasionally I would sway them, only to have them spout the same illogical tripe after going back to the hive. I have a few lefty coworkers and acquaintances, and I simply refuse to talk politics or economics with them. Because if I do then they will invariably become emotional and cause a scene, yet I am always to blame.

              1. You’re offending their sensibilities. You are. It’s not their sensibilities’ place to not be offended. It’s yours to not offend them.

                1. Sticks and stones can break my bones, and words are even worse.

    3. Now I’m no political scientist, but in practical terms how can a sovereign nations laws be forced to comply with books, rules and laws generated outside of its borders?

      He’s absolutely right—he is no political scientist.

      So we see the great progressive adage of not taking equal giving. Or in this case, not imposing equaling an imposition on other people.

      1. Liberty is tyranny because it would prevent those who impose from imposing, which is itself an imposition on the imposers.

        1. Liberty is tyranny because it would prevent those who impose from imposing, which is itself an imposition on the imposers.

          Tony has made this argument more than once using very near the same phrasing. It actually made me wonder if Tony was really just a strange reverse troll, but no, his handler(s?) really is just that stupid.

    4. I think the main problem here is that many people are so accustomed to the employer-based system of health insurance, that they literally cannot conceive of any other system. They think there is some sort of innate and natural link between employment and health insurance, and the entire system would be thrown into chaos without that connection being engraved into law.

      In the context of a world in which you really think the ONLY way to get health insurance is to get it from your employer (as insane as that is), it makes a vague kind of demented sense to think that product shouldn’t be controlled by the employer. (Leaving aside the fact that you can go work for someone else if you don’t like their offerings.)

      The logjam here is getting people to recognize that there is no reason it has to be this way. And instead of fighting to make Hobby Lobby pay for birth control, what they should be doing is fighting to sever the link between employment and insurance.

  2. Um, instead, can we please talk about Webb Hubbell being the biological father of Chelsea?

    1. Whose the biological mother?

  3. On topic: I am calling bullshit on Dowd’s story. She either made that up out of thin air or is recounting something someone else told her.

    1. I dunno. I’ve had brownies a couple times, and it’s totally different effect than smoking. What she ate was the equivalent of an entire pan of pot brownies. I could see that reducing the uninitiated into a quivering ball of paranoia.

      1. I think it’s impact is bigger, too, because there’s no waste.

        You’re not exhaling any smoke. Pretty much all of it’s going into your bloodstream.

        1. It takes a lot more and the uptake is much slower when you ingest it.

          1. Well then it must be getting lost somewhere if it takes more when you eat it.

            There was this Vietnamese lady who used to make a tea with what she grew in the backyard–maybe that tea makes it metabolize more completely.

            People said you’d drink some in the morning and wake up the next day still stoned.

            1. That was something other than cannabis tea. Thc is not water soluable.

              1. You’re supposed to add some kind of oil or butter.


                This lady was old school.

                1. I see. Interesting. Butter tea sounds odd. Seems like it would be tough to keep it from separating.

                  1. Have you ever had Thai tea?

                    They put milk in it.

                    It’s sort of like a Chai latte.

                    Okay, now I’ve stepped in it. Somebody, go ahead and cal me a latte swilling…whatever.

      2. a quivering ball of paranoia

        I wonder if they gave her the anal probe while she was in their spaceship.

      3. Yeah, the first time I ever made brownies I was not at all prepared for the high. I was pretty much glued to the couch for several hours.

    2. Why? First time I did marijuana I couldn’t tell whether I was already dead and waiting to go top hell or if that was gonna happen soon. And that was just a few hits off a water bong, I can’t imagine how much a full overdose would suck.

  4. Somebody should point out that it’s also entirely possible to drink too much alcohol.

    What Maureen Dowd did was the equivalent of a college freshman drinking a whole case through a beer bong. That some kids do stupid things like that merits no response from government whatsoever. Most people never end up in the emergency room because of alcohol poisoning, and the incredibly obtuse who do things like that eventually learn from their mistakes.

    It bugs the hell out of me, too, that people have somehow come to be proud of their stupidity (and cowardice). Dowd should be ashamed of doing something so stupid, but I guess she’s not. It reminds me of War on Terror enthusiasts who brag about how scared they are of Muslims–like it’s manly. Cowardice is disgraceful and so is stupidity. If Maureen Dowd is being ridiculed for her stupidity, then that’s an example of ridicule doing its job properly.

    Stupid is as stupid does, Maureen!

    1. Somebody should point out that it’s also entirely possible to drink too much alcohol.

      Bingo. You can kill yourself in one sitting by overdoing it on booze. You can also kill yourself by taking too many Tylenol at once.

    2. beer bong

      When did that term become commonplace? Back in the day it was just Funnel. In fact, I’d never even heard it called that until this post…but I’m no longer with it.

      1. That’s the term I’ve always used going back to the ’80s.

  5. That one candy, it turned out, was plenty, and two was too many, which may explain why I had so much trouble following the plot of Ender’s Game on the hotel’s pay-per-view system and fell asleep a third of the way through the movie

    It might also have been Harrison Ford’s leaden acting that rivaled Will Smith’s awful performance in After Earth. Ford looked peevish for having been roused from his trailer during every scene.

  6. For her next experiment she should make a gravity bong.

    1. I haven’t seen one of those in years. Ah, wasted youth.

      1. I see what you did there.

  7. Shouldn’t you guys be out there…celebrating and blow shit up or something?

  8. Experienced users are somewhat seasoned against this side effect, but newbies who go too strong too fast are likely to get, as did Dowd, a nightlong trip through the paranoia horror house.

    I’m not going to deny that pot-induced paranoia is unsettling, heart-palpitating, and upsetting, but the descriptions being thrown at it are a little over the top. This isn’t bad acid, and generally it’s soporific enough to put even a fevered brain to sleep.

    1. They rate various strains relative to how much anxiety and/or paranoia they tend to produce.

      With acid, it’s the frame of mind that often determines whether someone has a bad trip–but certain people with certain frames of mind are more prone to bad trips than others. Some people just can’t chill–they seem normal, but on the inside? They’re the Anti-Marley.

      There’s probably a genetic component, too. Some people will have full on anxiety attacks from taking benadryl or Claratin for their allergies, and Dowd may be one of those people.

      I’ve also heard that it’s not uncommon, even for people who smoked frequently when they were young, to find that as adults, for whatever reason, they now tend to get paranoid.

    2. In my experience, marijuana tends to make the user more introspective. When stripped of one’s rationalizing coping mechanisms, such introspection can be disturbing.

      It’s no wonder that Maureen Dowd freaked out.

      1. The first time I ate too much (after the first bite, I only waited 30 minutes for the second, not the hour like I told myself I would wait), I also worried about dying because I felt like fainting- and I was already laying down. That and the heart palptiations. I kept reassuring myself that it’s not possible to die from an OD, but after that it’s plausible to me that it could cause a problem for someone with other health complications.

        1. (that was supposed to be it’s own post, not a reply)

      2. “It’s no wonder that Maureen Dowd freaked out.”

        Given who Maureen Dowd is and the stupidity of some of her stands, I’m very surprised that introspection didn’t cause her to die from an embolism.

  9. The classic problem with edibles always seems to be that single thought of: “I don’t think I’m that high, maybe just one more.”

    And then all of a sudden things get weird.

  10. That happened to me with another substance a long time ago. I took one and waited. Nothing. I took a second one and minutes later felt the first one. I’m not a much of a dancer, but I was dancing that night.

  11. Were they OU-endorsed gummies?

  12. Yeah, Um, I don’t think the marijuana candies were the reason you had trouble following the plot of Ender’s Game.

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