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DHSS wants consumers to be informed about marijuana edibles

By Liz Raines Photojournalist: Carolyn Hall - 10:00 AM December 31, 2016

By the time its doors open at noon on Monday, Anchorage’s Arctic Herbery will be stocked with roughly 1,000 packages of marijuana edibles.

If you haven’t tried an edible before, there are a few things the state’s chief medical officer says you should know.

“It’s absorbed through the gut, so it’s a much slower process than inhaling or using marijuana products in another way,” said Dr. Jay Butler. “You can think that maybe there’s no effect, and you need to eat more, but give it time, we always say start low and go slow.”

The Alaska Department of Health and Human Services has been running public service announcements on radio and television stations across Alaska. The department wants to ensure consumers know what they’re getting into before trying the edible products.

It’s advice David Nyberg wishes he’d heard before he tried his first edible decades ago. Nyberg’s been smoking pot for 50 years, but when it comes to edibles, he says he can’t handle them.

“I definitely get claustrophobic and I have to walk outside,” Nyberg said. “I need to smoke pot, it takes the edges off it, really quick.”

Nyberg still remembers the first time he tried a marijuana hard candy in 1970.

“I got lost, disoriented,” Nyberg said. “I had to flag a policeman down on the street to help me get back to where I needed to be, and I didn’t eat edibles after that for quite a while.”

Everyone reacts to marijuana differently, and even to different edibles. The Dept. Of Health and Social Services recommends waiting 2 to 4 hours between each 5 mg serving of THC.

Nyberg found his body’s tolerance level over time.

“I’ve learned over the years that when I see people eat a cookie, I eat like a fourth of it, and I hang out for a half hour, forty five minutes and then maybe I can have a little more, maybe not,” he said.

Arctic Herbery’s owner, Byant Thorp, says he expects edible supplies to last three to four days next week.

Visit the DHSS website for more on marijuana consumption.

KTVA 11’s Liz Raines can be reached via email or on Facebook and Twitter.

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