But naysayers be damned, I had come up with this stupid idea, so I had to go through with it. Besides, I had consumed a 3,000mg dose of THC on the shoot for the first Canadian Cannabis, so what would a few more milligrams do? No one has ever died from the consumption of cannabis), and I knew for a fact that this was not a record-breaking dosage by any means.
As a medical cannabis user (with a pretty rad gig), I have come to realize that edibles only really "work" for me in very high doses, and even then, I seem to find the effects on the milder side. Why? I don't know, and judging by the dosing recommendation document Health Canada has produced, neither do they, really. While making the latest installment of Canadian Cannabis, which focused on edibles, I came up with the idea of constructing a limit-testing sundae featuring a range of the amazing edible products available on the market. I pitched the idea to VICE and told them I would need about $500 [$390 USD] in order to produce the most spectacular frozen weed treat ever made—and they went for it!
Related: Watch 'Cannabis Candyland'
Imagine how fun it is to go shopping for a $500 ice cream sundae? We headed to an area dispensary, which helped us source the cannabis ice cream (Root Beer Chocolate Chip no less!), and I went about my shopping. As anyone who has bought weed edibles can tell you, it doesn't take long to spend 500 bucks. Prices range from $10 [$8 USD] for a pack of ten gummies that are dosed at 10mg of THC each, to $60 [$45 USD] for a bottle of 600mg dosed Cannadrank. I ended up buying a whack of gummies, three infused spreads, two medicated cake pops, a couple of weed cereal bars, a pair of Canna-chocolate bars, a pack of Twinkie-like pot snack cakes, some pre-"mixed" cookie mix, some chronic, and one good ol' weed brownie.
When I got back to the office, EVERYONE was very excited to see me! Unfortunately, I had to inform them that as the sole staff member with doctor-granted access to the official Canadian Medical Marihuana Program, I was under strict orders not to share with ANYONE. Thus, the responsibility of consuming this bag of goodness would be mine and mine alone. So I went into the conference room, set up my private ice cream sundae party, and basked in the selfishness.
I made the sundae and more than 63,000 people enjoyed watching me eat ice cream live on Facebook. After the cameras were done rolling, I ate most of the rest of sundae, save for the last bit of the brownie and the ice cream. Though I had tried to use all the candies on the sundae itself, time constraints prevented me from doing it. In light of this, I had a bag of leftovers. Seeing as I was duty bound not to share them, I decided I would consume the remainder over the course of the rest of the day.
After finishing a few more meetings (and the leftover gummies), I went home to make dinner. My wife and I had sent the kids off for the night, so it was just her and me. Knowing I would still have to contend with the cake pops, a cereal bar, and the caramel corn, I opted to make a light tofu and broccoli stir fry. I was far too full from edibles to eat more than a few bites, but it turned out pretty well. For dessert, I polished off the cake pops.
Throughout the rest of the evening, I would snack on and ultimately polish off all but a dark chocolate bar (because I have the palette of a child) and the cookie dough mix (because that was too much effort for more sugar and cannabis). This leads to the big question: How did I feel?
Truthfully, the answer is: I felt fine. Don't get me wrong, I felt fully medicated, but not to the point of debilitation. In fact, that night I was able to put together an episode of my podcast and even do a little writing. For a guy who had subsisted on little more than refined sugars and THC for the day, I was kicking ass!
This leads me to question why there is such a hubbub about dispensaries? Alarmists like Toronto City Councillor Joe Cressy would have you believe that these dispensaries are a threat to us and our communities, seemingly based only on the fact that the goods they sell are still illegal.
But here I sat, having eaten just about the run of what's for sale at one of these dispensaries, and I was fine. Even if you don't believe me that I was fine and have been lying about how high I felt, I was at worst STONED. I was not lying in the ER and am definitely not dead. If this dispensary boom is such an issue because these stores are selling these "dangerous" illegal drugs, where are the overdoses? I've lost a few friends in this city to overdoses in the last few years, but it was never from weed—it was from actual drugs.
Not a day goes by that I don't hear about a new cannabis dispensary, private members club, delivery service, or some other cannabis-related business opening in Toronto. There are now well more than 100 retail locations to buy weed in the city. And as much as I tend to view the world with emerald-colored glasses, even I know this isn't being done as a public service for people like me. This is clearly reflective of a populous demanding access to cannabis, which has created a very lucrative market. Not everyone entering it will be doing so for the "right" reasons, but how many people enter any business for noble reasons? I'm much more concerned about the rights of these consumers at this point than upholding a law that is clearly outmoded and out of step with the will of the people.
The CBC recently went to the trouble of sending in an undercover reporter to demonstrate the fact that they had access to cannabis without a doctor's prescription, but they didn't stop and ask one of the other dozen or so people jamming into the storefront why they need or choose to access cannabis in this way? Why is the medical cannabis system still prohibitively hard to access for so many? And why are people like myself, who are enrolled in the legal MMPR program, still forced to frequent gray market dispensaries? In my mind, these are the real questions worth asking.
Follow Damian Abraham on Twitter.