February 27, 2021

Marijuana Edibles Safety

Get the facts about marijuanaGet the facts for your family. Learn more about the health effects of marijuana. AK Marijuana Edibles Safety Poster - Be careful when eating and drinking marijuana: Start low and go slow. 

Marijuana Edibles Safety

Be Careful When You Eat and Drink Marijuana

Marijuana edibles are foods and drinks that are made with marijuana or marijuana oils. These can be made at home, like pot brownies, but producers can make and sell marijuana edibles in many forms:
•  gummy candies
•  chocolate
•  sodas and juices
•  cookies and other treats

Q&A: Here are some common questions and answers about marijuana edibles in Alaska.

What kinds of edibles may be available in Alaska?

  • Foods: This could include brownies, prepared cookies, take-and-bake cookie dough, cupcakes, granola bars, cakes, snack mixes, honey sticks, and more.
  • Drinks: This could include pre-mixed sodas and juices, teas and other hot drinks, and flavored concentrates that can be mixed with other beverages.
  • Candies: This could include chocolate, gummies and chews, hard lozenges, lollipops, marshmallows, jellybeans, fudge, and more.
  • Tinctures: These are infused liquids made with alcohol, honey, or vegetable glycerin that can be consumed by holding under the tongue while the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is absorbed directly into the blood stream.  THC is the chemical in marijuana that makes a person feel high. Tinctures also can be added to foods and drinks.
  • Oil or butter: These infused products can be used at home when cooking or baking.

Who can legally eat or drink marijuana edibles?

In Alaska, non-medical marijuana use of all types is legal only for adults 21 years and older. That includes smoking, vaping, dabbing or consuming marijuana.

Where: Can I consume marijuana edibles in a public place?

No. Just like smoking a joint, it is illegal to consume marijuana edibles in any public place, including your vehicle when parked in a public area.


Storage: Where should you store marijuana and marijuana edibles?

Always store marijuana edibles safely away from children and pets. Little bodies and developing brains cannot handle even small amounts of marijuana.

Products purchased from retail or medical marijuana retailers are required by Alaska law to use clearly labelled and child-safe packaging. Keep marijuana products in their original packaging so they are easily identified as containing THC. Keep them in a locked area.

How you store marijuana should change as children get older. Safe storage around young children may not stop older children or teens.


Are marijuana edibles safe for pregnant or breastfeeding women?

Using marijuana while pregnant or breastfeeding may harm your baby. THC from the marijuana passes from the mother to her unborn child through the placenta. When a breastfeeding mother uses marijuana, THC passes through the breast milk to the baby and can potentially affect the baby. For more information, click here.


What are the rules for selling edibles in Alaska? [13]

Alaska’s commercial marijuana regulations state that the label on any edible product must:

  • identify the marijuana retail store selling the marijuana product by name or distinctive logo and marijuana establishment license number;
  • state the total estimated amount of THC in the labeled product;
  • contain each of the following statements:
  • "Marijuana has intoxicating effects and may be habit forming and addictive."
  • "Marijuana impairs concentration, coordination, and judgment. Do not operate a vehicle or machinery under its influence."
  • "There are health risks associated with consumption of marijuana."
  • "For use only by adults twenty-one and older. Keep out of the reach of children."
  • "Marijuana should not be used by women who are pregnant or breastfeeding."


What’s the serving size for marijuana edibles?[13]

Alaska regulations define a single serving of marijuana product as 5 milligrams (mg) of THC. A package of edible product sold in Alaska may not contain more than 10 servings — or 50 milligrams — of THC. If the product contains multiple servings, the product itself must be marked or scored to clearly show each serving of the product. For liquid marijuana products with multiple servings, the packaging must indicate the number and size of individual servings.


Will consuming marijuana have a different effect than smoking or vaping it?

The high from smoking marijuana can often be felt right away. The effects from eating or drinking marijuana, however, can take minutes to hours to develop, and then last longer. The effects can depend on how much THC you consumed, the amount and type of other foods consumed, and if you also drank alcohol or used other drugs.


What if you’re a first-time consumer of marijuana edibles?

  • Read the label: Alaska regulations require all edibles to be clearly labelled with the amount of THC in each serving, as well as the number and size of the servings in each package. Understand how much THC you will consume and how it could affect you. Start with a small amount (5mg or less) if you are not sure how you will react.
  • Take your time: The high from marijuana edibles may take up to four hours to peak, and can last for up to 10 hours. You may feel fine for several hours after consuming a marijuana edible, then suddenly feel very high. Until you know how edibles will affect you, wait at least 2-4 hours after the first serving before consuming more.
  • Stay put: Smoking, eating or drinking even one, 5 mg serving of a marijuana product may cause impairment, particularly for first-time and infrequent users. This can affect your ability to drive, bike, or perform other safety-sensitive activities. Plan ahead so you are in a safe place where you can stay until the impairing effects wear off.


Can you drive after consuming marijuana edibles?

You should not drive, bike, ski, snowboard, skate or operate machinery after consuming edibles. Driving while impaired is illegal and unsafe. Getting high before you drive could get you arrested for driving under the influence (DUI). This is still true even though marijuana use is legal for adults. Even if marijuana is used medically, officers can arrest you based on impaired driving behaviors.

Marijuana use affects:[8]

  • Reaction time
  • Short-term memory
  • Hand-eye coordination
  • Concentration
  • Perception of time and distance


How long should I wait to drive after consuming a marijuana edible?

Marijuana affects people differently. Many factors come into play. What we do know is that marijuana can make it unsafe to drive, bike, and do other activities.[1] The effects of marijuana can last longer than users think.

  • The more THC a person smokes or consumes, the greater the impairment will be.
  • The effects of marijuana can take longer to develop and last longer when eating or consuming marijuana.
  • Though a person might feel safe to drive after a few hours, impairment can last much longer.[1] As with other drugs, judgment is impacted when getting high.
  • Using alcohol and marijuana at the same time results in greater driving impairment than using either one alone.[1]
  • If you are impaired and need to get somewhere, do not get behind the wheel. Let someone who is sober drive. If you have no designated driver, take a bus, call a cab, or organize some other safe means of transportation.
  • In the end, law enforcement decides whether or not an individual is driving impaired. Driving high is a DUI.


Can you overdose on marijuana edibles?

It is possible to consume more marijuana than your body and brain can handle (called acute marijuana intoxication).[14, 15]

The symptoms of using too much marijuana are both physical and mental:

  • Extreme confusion, anxiety, panic, or paranoia.
  • Hallucinations or delusions.
  • Increased blood pressure.
  • Fast heart rate.
  • Severe nausea and vomiting.

If you or someone you know has any of the symptoms above, call the Poison Control Hotline at 1-800-222-1222 for free, fast, expert help anytime. If the symptoms are severe, call 911 or go to an emergency room.



What if a child consumes marijuana edibles?

A child who eats or drinks marijuana by accident may need immediate medical help.[15] Warning signs include problems walking or sitting up, difficulty breathing, and becoming sleepy.[1]

Call the free Poison Control Hotline at (800) 222-1222 if you are concerned that your child has consumed marijuana. The call is free and you will be helped quickly. If the child’s symptoms are bad, call 911 or go to an emergency room right away.


What if a pet consumes marijuana edibles? [16]

Pets that consume marijuana may act depressed or listless and lose motor control or balance. Depending on the ingredients in edibles, there may be other health concerns for pets. As an example, chocolate infused with THC is a concern because chocolate can be toxic for dogs. If you know or suspect your pet has consumed marijuana or a marijuana edible, call your veterinarian or a pet poison hotline. Click here for a list of phone numbers.[17] These services are available 24 hours a day for a small, per-incident fee. If your pet appears to be in any distress, seek emergency veterinary care immediately.


Be careful when eating and drinking marijuana

Start low and go slow.

  • Start with a single serving of 5 milligrams (mg) of THC, or even less.
  • Don’t eat or drink more of the marijuana edible until you have waited at least 2-4 hours. The effects from edibles can take hours to develop.
  • Eating too much of a marijuana edible too soon may lead to unwanted effects.
  • First-time users should be cautious: The effects of marijuana will vary person to person, and from one marijuana edible product to another.


Know what you are eating and drinking.

  • Check the label and know how many servings are in the package.
  • Know how many milligrams of THC you are consuming, and how often you are consuming it.
  • Be cautious if you are consuming a marijuana edible made at home. It can be hard to control how much THC is in each serving when making marijuana edibles at home.


Don’t share your stash. Keep your marijuana edibles for yourself.

  • It is illegal to give marijuana to anyone under the age of 21.

Steer clear of marijuana edibles if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Store your marijuana and marijuana edibles safely. Lock it up, out of reach.

  • Keep marijuana edibles away from children and pets who could become very sick after consuming them.