Food That Makes You High
by Lindsy Long
Walking down the streets of Amsterdam, you may often run into coffee shops, some with exaggerated graffiti on the outside walls. They are not regular cafés, but an authorized place to sell cannabis, also known as marijuana.
In the worldwide battle against drugs, the Netherlands is an exception — a toleration policy regarding soft drugs and coffee shops, where cannabis is allowed to be sold no more than five grams per day per person.
Cannabis might be considered as villainy. In some countries, but in the Netherlands, cannabis is a common party drug, with 25.7 per cent of people from age 15 to 64 ever used it, slightly higher than the average of Europe.
Apart from being smoked in joints, cannabis has also been used in cooking hundreds of dishes, including cannabis pizza, salad, cake, and soup. The Stoner's Cookbook is one of the many websites that have detailed instruction and advice on how to effectively use cannabis into making dishes. It has more than 200 recipes of cooking with cannabis.
Matt Gray, the CEO of the Stoner's Cookbook, said eating cannabis has much different effects compared with smoking it. "With edibles, the stoned feeling lasts much longer and takes about 45 minutes to kick in, and the effects can last up to 4 hours".
Matt has been in the edible weed industry for two and a half years. He sees edible weeds as medicine that could help people with needs. "I believe edibles is an opportunity to bring happiness to patients around the world," he said.
He said some carcinogens presented in smoking weed can be avoided by choosing cannabis food instead. "Whether you are Food that makes you high INTERNATIONAL looking for medical benefits or for a tasty meal, cannabis recipes can be enjoyable and beneficial," he said.
But he suggests beginners should keep a dose of around 10mg per serving. "You can always have more cannabis, you can't have less. Therefore, it is important to take your time and be patient," he said.
Elise, a 22-year-old local student who tried both smoking joints and eating cannabis brownies, said she preferred edibles. "The feeling was similar but not as intense. I felt sleepy, stoned, and relaxed after an hour," she said.
Elise does not enjoy consume cannabis joints because she has never been a smoker. While trying cannabis edibles wasn't her idea as well, yet, she turned out liking it.
"I was not willing to try cannabis food at first, but my boyfriend from England where cannabis is illegal wanted to try cannabis brownie. We made one together and the flavor and feelings turned out to be nice," she said.
Some people like Elise who don't smoke generally choose cannabis dishes, while others may prefer smoking the joints, a quicker and easier way.
Bart is a 42-year-old Dutchman who has been smoking cannabis for almost 30 years. "I am not fond of edibles as the feeling comes slow and it is troublesome to make cannabis dishes. I smoke eight to ten joints every day with 0.3 gram each," he said.
Dr Dirk Jan Moes, a clinical researcher at Leiden University Medical Center, said the main difference between joints and edibles is the time you reach the high. "When you smoke the joints, it immediately goes through your nose and lung, and you will easily reach the highest peak; if consuming edibles, it is much slower but lasts longer," he said.
Despite the relaxed feelings people get from cannabis joints and edibles, both of them have drawbacks on health.
Dr Walter Boiten, a researcher at Leiden Academic Center for Drug Research, said smoking cannabis might cause lung cancer but at the same time, it is easier to control the amount one intakes.
"Consuming cannabis food may cause overdosing, as it takes a long time before you have feelings. It won't happen with smoking cannabis because you can stop immediately when you feel enough," he said.
However, in the Netherlands as elsewhere, drugs can cause nuisance and crime. The government is responding by introducing a new toleration rule on coffee shops in 2013.
The policy is aimed at making Dutch coffee shops less attractive to drug users from abroad by forbidding non residents of the Netherlands to visit coffee shops. Coffee shops have become smaller and focused on the local market.
According to a report in 2011, the total number of coffee shops in the Netherlands has gradually reduced from around 850 in 1999 to 651 at the end of 2011.
Elise has tried smoking and eating cannabis twice so far. She said she would like to try it again.
"It was an interesting experience. I would love to make cannabis brownie again but certainly not too often, as it is not good for health after all," she said.
(Edited by Yanis Chan)
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