Illustration: Mark Wang

The Case of the Accidental Edible, or How I Melted My Brain With THC

A bad trip through the patchwork of marijuana legalization

Chris Thompson
Published in
8 min readDec 2, 2019

TThe Miami Heat’s Dion Waiters was recently suspended over “conduct detrimental to the team” after Waiters suffered what was described as a panic attack. Panic attacks are not generally considered punishable conduct by the NBA, but in this case, Waiters’ attack may have been caused by an overdose of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active ingredient in the cannabis-infused gummies Waiters reportedly ate while on a team flight from Phoenix to California.

Acute marijuana toxicity of the severity suffered by Waiters is not especially common in adults, but one consequence of decriminalization has been an increase in hospital admissions for unintentional cannabis consumption, in particular among children, as pot is more readily available and as more potent formulations turn up in edibles.

For an adult, an accidental THC overdose may be small potatoes, as medical emergencies go, but trust me when I say the experience sucks mondo ass. As it happens, I have some very unfortunate personal history with acute marijuana toxicity.

InIn the summer of 2017, a box arrived on my doorstep in Virginia, overflowing with delicious candy. All I knew of it was that it had been sent by my sister-in-law to my home and not her home because both she and her wife were out of town in Colorado on business. Ostensibly, it had fallen to my wife and me to safeguard some colorfully wrapped candies until my sister was home to retrieve them.

I, a hog, decided my proper payment for this job would be one large toffee chocolate bar, which I happily munched while my wife helped herself to a couple sour candies. My wife texted her sister to inform her of this tax, and then her face turned white.

Turns out, the box contained several pounds of weed edibles and no regular candy whatsoever.

The chocolate bar I’d devoured only appeared to be of a familiar brand because my clever sister-in-law had rewrapped all the candy in the box to make it appear as regular candy in order to smuggle it from Colorado, where recreational marijuana use is legal, to Virginia, where recreational marijuana use is very much not…



Chris Thompson
Writer for

Former Deadspinner. Also on Gawker, The Guardian, Road & Track, ESPN’s Truehoop Network, and The Classical.