Panic-control could be important for industry’s future
Over-consumption can easily ruin a newbie’s experience
Grinding flowers and rolling joints will always have a certain appeal for millions of cannabis consumers. But ultimately, smokable products are only going to reach a fraction of the potential market. Teas, sodas, baked goods, candies and tinctures have the potential to reach a broader audience and gain widespread acceptance.
The same concept applies to potency.
Only a relatively small percentage of the population is looking for the strongest of the strong. I think it’s tough, sometimes, for people in the cannabis industry to remember that many of their customers are not regular users — in fact, legalization will bring many first-time users into retail stores, as well as those who haven’t consumed marijuana in decades.
The entire industry is relying on those people to have a great experience. If they don’t — if their first connection to cannabis in years is a panic-filled, heart-pounding, sweat-inducing roller coaster — they’ll probably never give it a second try. Even worse, they’ll probably tell all their friends about the regretful experience.
People say you can’t overdose on cannabis.
This seems to be accurate in the sense that you’re not going to die from eating an overly-potent brownie, provided there aren’t underlying conditions that would put the user at a higher risk for a heart attack or stroke.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t have a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad night by taking one bite too many.
We’ve all been there before (or at least most of us have): You take a couple puffs too many or eat a cookie that might be a bit stronger than you’re accustomed to, and the next thing you know, you’re huddled beneath a blanket trying to ride out a miniature freak-out.
For this reason, I believe a product like CannaRelief could be important for the legal cannabis industry. It’s designed to alleviate the anxiety that comes with over-consumption.
The founder of the company uses a cannabis concentrate to help with his own fibromyalgia, but finds it challenging to pinpoint the correct dose. He developed CannaRelief by blending Vitamins B and C with 20 milligrams of pure-hemp CBD, and uses it when he goes a little overboard looking for a good night of sleep. While it doesn’t eliminate the high, it does take the edge off, he said.
I haven’t tried it yet, so I can’t vouch for its effectiveness. And it’s likely that results will vary for different people.
But I think the idea of products that look beyond the inner circle of cannabis consumers will be vital as the industry develops and gains acceptance in more states. New consumers are an untapped demographic that could be pivotal to legal marijuana’s success.
One of the first things I thought about when I heard of CannaRelief was Maureen Dowd’s now-infamous column in the New York Times, “Don’t Harsh Our Mellow, Dude.”
In June of 2014, Dowd published a first-hand account of eating a cannabis-infused candy bar that made her convinced she had died. Alas, she awoke the next morning in perfect health, with no lingering ill effects.
I don’t want to undermine Dowd’s own culpability, or ignore the possibility that the product she consumed was woefully under-labeled. Yet, these situations are likely to become common occurrences in the new world of over-the-counter cannabis (although, let’s hope, not by people that work for the national newspaper of record, and not to the extent that Ms. Dowd experienced). And if a product like CannaRelief can genuinely reduce — or better yet, eliminate — these miserable, panic-laden experiences, it will be a much-needed life raft for the cannabis industry.
But in an era of eye-popping THC levels (in both flowers and concentrates), it’s unusual and somewhat refreshing to see somebody making a product designed to stop people from getting too high, rather than the other way around.