As a growing number of U.S. states legalize the use of marijuana, marijuana edibles is anticipated to become a burgeoning industry. As of this month, 23 states already allow for the use of marijuana for medical purposes and it is with these reforms in cannabis law that edibles are expected to flood the market.

Some states, New York and Minnesota in particular, have tougher measures when it comes to smoking medical pot and patients living in these states who use cannabis as treatment for their illness are likely to turn to edible products because smoking the drug is prohibited.

For those who have options, they may still opt for or consume edible pot for several reasons.  Some marijuana users, for instance, simply do not want to inhale or smoke the drug.  Some may also want to have variety. For sick people and those who are in pain, controlled doses of marijuana in edibles can provide them with longer-lasting therapeutic effect sans giving them the high.  

With the growing demand for both recreational and medical marijuana, pot-infused cakes, drinks, lemonade, toffee, oil and other edibles have already made their way into the market. Entrepreneurs who have ventured into marijuana edible-related businesses also appear to have hit a gold mine as Colorado and Washington legalized the use of cannabis for recreational purposes.

Andrew Schrot, a businessman from Denver who produced marijuana chocolate bars for medical use three years ago, said that his sales has more than doubled since recreational use of the drug became legal in his state last year. San Francisco-based marijuana research and investment firm ArcView Group even estimated that the legalized marijuana industry is likely to grow from about $1.5 billion last year to about 2.6 billion this year.

The proliferation of edibles has also made cannabis cookbooks and classes increasingly popular. "You're seeing a lot of these types of products like cannabis cookbooks," said Erik Altieri, from the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. "They've always been popular among a subset of marijuana, but with the fact that more and more people from the mainstream are able to consume, there's a lot more interest."

Consumption of marijuana edibles, however, also has its own risks. Hospitals, for instance, are seeing an increasing number of patients who have consumed too much pot from marijuana-infused products. The death of one college student in Wyoming was also attributed to consuming pot-infused cookies.

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