Public Health Grey Bruce wants people to "Start low and go slow" when it comes to pot edibles.
"Edibles are going to be a big issue because of the long delay in the onset of effect," says Health Unit Dietician Kathryn Forsyth.
She says people risk eating too much, thinking it's not working, "It's why you have go start low and go very slow, and you've got to use yourself as a little test tube experiment because it may take 30 minutes or it may take an hour or two, to reach the peak effect," says Forsyth.
She recommends 2.5 milligrams as a good place to start, "You don't want to be going above that. Especially for your first tasting."
According to Forsyth, the risk is, a person might eat one cookie, not feel anything and eat a few more, "All of a sudden you've put yourself into over consumption. There's nothing you can do about that except drink water, maybe eat some regular food and wait for those feelings to subside." She says it can take as long as 12 or 24 hours for effects to wear off.
She says when people have too much, most will think they're having a panic attack or perhaps a heart attack.
Meanwhile, she says beers that are coming out are going to be de-alcoholized beers infused with cannabis, "Liquid is going to get in quicker."
The Health Unit created a curriculum update for both local school boards with information about edibles to be talked about along with other substances like alcohol and drugs. There was also a 'Weed Out the Risks' program by public health nurses done for schools through MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving).
Public Health's official recommendation is to wait until you're at least 25 to consume cannabis.
Forsyth says over-consumption is also a risk for older people who make a change from taking pills and medications to cannabis. She says people with respiratory disease, cardiovascular disease or balance issues should not use it.
She notes labelling, safe storage, and keeping it out of reach of children and pets is incredibly important, "If you make canna-butter or canna-oil you've got to label that carefully and lock it somewhere."
"When children see a cookie, or a Rice Krispies square or a brownie or a gummie bear, they're not expecting it to be full of cannabis."
Forsyth says Public Health is going to be watching ER admission rates closely here, and poitns out how when Colorado legalized their edibles, their emergency room admissions for over-consumption skyrocketed.
Now that it's legal, Forsyth says it will still be a while before the government regulated products are ready and she wants people to be careful when they make edibles on their own, "If your pan is tilted in the oven and you're baking brownies, there could be far more cannabis in parts of the brownie and not in others."
She says you can't tell how much cannabis is in a cookie by looking at it and notes, "It's giving pot luck a whole new meaning" warning people to keep that in mind at parties.
Meanwhile local police services want parents to keep that in mind at Halloween.