In 2010, Chef Scott Durrah created Simply Pure Medicated Edibles, the largest edible company in Colorado. They supplied over 400 dispensaries with real food that was gluten free, vegan, organic and infused with bubble (or cold water) hash. Being in the restaurant business for more than 20 years, he believed he was setting a standard. The first to use a commercial kitchen with trained chefs; they followed the FDA regulations on the processing of food, food handling and cleanliness, even though this was not a requirement by the state at the time. They perfected the dosing so they could ensure consistency, potency and purity. They accomplished this through growing their own organic bud (flowers), making CLEAN hash and making all of their products from scratch. Simply Pure closed their doors in 2012 due to lack of banking, over regulation in the transportation and delivery of products and the market forces demanding cheap edibles.

The market changed dramatically from 2009 to 2011. Dispensaries wanted cheap, sugary snacks with extremely high dosing sometimes exceeding 200mg per dose. Those were the easiest to sell. The market became flooded with candies made from sugar and Butane Hash Oil or BHO, a sometimes cheap and potent way to produce hash. Many edible companies offered cannabis laced treats that looked childhood candies sprayed with BHO. I have rejected this cheap idea of edibles from the beginning. And many times it put me at odds with those that produced BHO and cheap edibles.

Fast forward to 2014, the cannabis industry is now producing food for anyone over the age of 21, potentially millions of people. Now more than ever, I believe that when producing food for the public, clear package labeling, training in food safety and preparation, and most importantly, clear understanding of dosing is not only needed, but should be regulated.

However, let’s be very clear. You cannot overdose on edibles of any kind. By overdosing, I mean you cannot die, nor will your life ever be in danger from ingesting an edible. You may have a feelings of paranoia or you may vomit if you eat too much, which too be honest, will most likely land you in an ER. But unlike alcohol, you will not die. You will sleep it off and in 8 to 24 hours, you will be perfectly normal.

However, this is still an issue. It is called lack of understanding on the part of the consumer, lack of communication from the budtenders and dispensaries, and lack of commitment to quality products from some edible makers.

Most of you would not drink an entire bottle of whiskey and then wonder why you are sick. You wouldn’t do this, because we have had over 100 years of education on liquor. Doesn’t mean we always act in a responsible nature, but we understand clearly the effects of drinking too much. Six months after the legalization of cannabis, we are still learning how to responsibly enjoy an edible.

I am personally a great fan of edibles. For people who are experiencing health issues, an edible or food made with hash is a wonderful way to help alleviate pain, assist with sound sleep or calm the mind without the negative effects of smoking. For people wanting to enjoy the effects of cannabis recreationally and discretely, an edible proves to be a wonderful way of doing so. 

Here are rules of edibles:

Choose an edible the same way you would choose any other food. Is it package well? Does it have a fresh look and feel to it? Are the ingredients whole food or just sugar and hash? Spend time speaking to the budtenders about all of the edibles they provide. Ask them to explain the dosing very carefully.

Understand the dosing of what you are eating.  The State of Colorado views one dose as 10mg of activated THC. I would suggest no more than 5mg for your first time.

Understand how the edible was infused. I personally would NEVER eat an edible made with Butane Hash Oil. I would choose bubble hash or CO2 extraction. It should be stated on the label what type of hash extraction is used.

Take caution the first time you try an edible. Do it in the privacy of your home to see how you will react to it. Trying an edible for the first time at the Santana Concert at Red Rocks may not be smart.

And The Most Important Piece Of Advice I Can Give You: Edibles process through the liver. This process takes 45 minutes to 1 ½ hours to feel any effect. Under no circumstances should you take more because you don’t feel the “high” right away. And if by some chance, you do take too much, relax. Drink water, laydown in a quiet place, calm your mind and try to sleep it off. 

The Simply Pure Chefs, lead by Chef Scott Durrah, are opening a cooking school dedicated to teaching people how to cook with cannabis. The safest way to enjoy edibles is to make them yourself, with your own bud and your level of dosing. The Simply Pure School of Gourmet Cannabis Cooking will be opening in early Fall in Denver. This will be the first school of its kind in America.  Stay tuned for details.

And as always, we are not blowing smoke……

Editor’s note: Blowing Smoke is written each month by Wanda James.  She is the managing partner at Cannabis Global Initiative and is a leading advocate in the cannabis industry. She worked with the regulatory process to bring medical marijuana to fruition and was appointed to the Colorado Governor’s Amendment 64 Task Force Work Group. Wanda’s political and professional work on cannabis reform has led to her being featured in numerous national shows including The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, and on CNBC’s Marijuana USA. She and her husband Scott Durrah, also own Jezebel’s Southern Bistro + Whiskey Bar in Denver. She would like to answer your questions or comments. Email