For this Learning Activity, use the Drugs In The Media article which is posted below entitled “Marijuana Brownie Overdose? Read the article and then respond to the questions below in a minimum 2-page essay. Use the text as a reference in addition to any other academic sources that you want to use.
Explain the relationship between how a drug is used and the time it takes to feel the effects of the drug.
Why is it unlikely that the officer and his wife were dying from eating their brownies?
Discuss the different ways that people use marijuana and tell which of those routes is the most effective for feeling high quickly.
Drugs in the Media
Marijuana Brownie Overdose?
In April 2006, a Michigan police officer and his wife attempted to get “high” by eating brownies laced with marijuana that he had confiscated from criminal suspects. Approximately 90 minutes after eating the brownies, the officer made the following panicked 911 emergency call:
Officer: I think I’m having an overdose and so’s my wife…
Dispatcher: Overdose of what?
Officer: Marijuana. I don’t know if there was something in it … Can you please send rescue?
Dispatcher: Do you guys have a fever or anything?
Officer: No, I’m just …, I think we’re dying.
Dispatcher: How much did you guys have?
Officer: Uh, I don’t know we made brownies and I think we’re dead. I really do … Time is going by really, really, really, really slow.
Listeners to an audio transcript of the call found it hilarious, despite the officer’s clear distress. One reason that many were amused is because they recognized the likelihood of death following marijuana consumption is low. They might have also understood some basic facts about routes of drug administration, which is most germane to our discussion in this chapter.
Like most drugs, marijuana can be ingested in several ways, including orally. The oral route is convenient (no special equipment is needed), but the time that it takes to feel “high” using this route is often delayed and the effects tend to last longer. Inexperienced users might become impatient after several minutes without feeling a recognizable change in mood. This can lead to the immediate consumption of even more drug in hopes of bringing about an effect. With a drug like marijuana, this would be a mistake, because not only can the onset of drug actions be delayed for up to an hour after ingestion, but also the effects can be quite intense if a large dose was taken. The point here is that knowing a few basic pharmacology facts might help one minimize drug-related harms and avoid the panic and public humiliation experienced by the officer in this example.