Five high school students visiting Salem, Massachusetts from Saugerties, New York fell ill and were treated in the Salem Hospital emergency room Friday evening after eating marijuana laced brownies. The brownies, distributed by a school mate, may have been mixed with other ingredients that caused the negative effects. as marijuana mixed brownies do not usually themselves cause vomiting.
Students began vomiting soon after ingesting the brownies and were left behind when the bus departed to take their classmates home. The students’ parents had to make a trip up to Salem to retrieve the youngsters after they were cleared from the hospital. One student, a 17 year old classmate who admitted distributing the brownies will be making a returning trip next month to answer charges of marijuana distribution in Salem Juvenile Court.
The Internet is filled with recipes for marijuana brownies and reports of safe use from multiple sources. Research demonstrates that oral consumption of marijuana has a similar effect to smoking the drug, although the physiological effects may take longer to appear. There are however, numerous reports of troubling side effects from oral ingestion of marijuana.
Paranoia, severe anxiety and hallucinations, in addition to nausea and other troubling physiological reactions are described for some people. The difficulty is that you may consume a lot more of the drug than you had planned, if it is mixed into a good tasting food, like a brownie. If you eat 3-4 brownies, because you are hungry and they taste good, it may result in you feeling a bit full. However, if the brownies contain marijuana, you may overdose and your body will react accordingly.
Another possible explanation for the severe reactions of the five students is that the marijuana was “laced” with another chemical prior to its combination into the brownie mixture. It is not uncommon for people to add cocaine, PCP or embalming fluid to marijuana to potentiate the psychoactive experience. Users unaccustomed to these effects or unaware that lacing has occurred may react negatively.
Let's hope the next time these kids come back to enjoy Halloween in Salem, they stick to the haunted houses and ghost tours.