Edmonson Voice Report:
THC edible makers are packaging products using logos, colors, and styling to resemble well-known snacks and candies popular with adolescents and children according to a report from the Kentucky Narcotic Officer's Association. These product names are often changed, but at a simple glance or to a child that cannot read, the packaging difference is not easily apparent. This mock packaging is most prevalent with candies that contain THC, Delta-8 or Delta-9, and they often resemble the shape and size of the candy their packaging is mimicking, making it harder to distinguish the difference, the report said.
Despite being warned by both the Federal Trade Commission and Federal Drug Administration to cease sales, these manufacturers continue to produce these products that pose dangers to kids. In addition, a large number of these products are being produced outside of the United States where copyright laws and regulations are not followed.
A June 16, 2023 report by the FDA, outlined how edibles containing THC can easily be mistaken by children as popular snack foods and candies due to the similarities in packaging. The report went on to outline the dangers of consumption of THC edibles by children:
The FDA is aware of multiple media reports describing children and adults who accidentally consumed copycat edible products containing THC and experienced adverse events. Additionally, from January 1, 2021, through May 31, 2022, the FDA received over 125 adverse event reports related to children and adults who consumed edible products containing THC. Some individuals who ate these edible products reportedly experienced adverse events such as hallucinations, increased heart rate and vomiting, and many required medical intervention or hospital admission. Ten of the reports specifically mention the edible product to be a copycat of popular foods, such as Cocoa Pebbles, Gushers, Nerds Rope, Skittles, Sour Patch Kids, and Starburst.
In addition, national poison control centers received 10,448 single substance exposure cases involving only edible products containing THC between January 1, 2021, and May 31, 2022. Of these cases, 77% involved patients 19 years of age or younger. Of the total cases, 65% involved unintentional exposure to edible products containing THC and 91% of these unintentional exposures affected pediatric patients. Furthermore, 79% of the total cases required health care facility evaluation, of which 7% resulted in admission to a critical care unit; 83% of patients requiring health care facility evaluation were pediatric patients. One pediatric case was coded with a medical outcome of death following the ingestion of a suspected delta-8 THC edible.
"In Kentucky, we have encountered numerous children hospitalized for ingesting THC laced gummy bears and overdosing due to the extremely high levels of THC in each individual candy," the report stated. "The acute toxicity of edible cannabis products when ingested in large numbers has led to a dramatic increase in poisonings in children. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has confirmed that children ingesting edibles that contain 1.7mg or more of THC can lead to severe or prolonged toxicity. Some of these products contain two to three times that amount in each dose. Between 2017 and 2021, poison control centers saw calls for children under six consuming edibles rise by 1,375%. The numbers jumped from 207 to 3054 and almost all of those exposed found the edibles in their homes."
With THC edible manufacturers often duplicating the packaging of popular candy makers, the KNOA said it is important that while enjoying Halloween festivities parents and caregivers inspect all candy collected by their children. If products that someone suspects to contain THC are located, please contact local law enforcement as soon as possible.
"If your child, or someone you know ingests cannabis infused products unknowingly, call 911 and or poison control immediately, the report said. "THC edibles can take various amounts of time to take effect and toxicity can vary due to the potency of the product and the size and age of the person exposed".