FDA Warns About THC Copycat Edibles, Children In Serious Danger


By Nina Zdinjak

About a month after a study led by researchers at NYU School of Global Public Health, revealed that “copycat” edibles can have levels of tetrahydrocannabinol or THC “that far exceed the limits set by state cannabis regulations” and may be easily confused for popular snack foods, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning to all consumers about the accidental ingestion by children of food products containing THC.

“Edibles are a popular and growing segment of the cannabis market. In states where cannabis use is legal, more than half (56%) of people who use cannabis consume edibles, with younger people more likely to do so,” reported NYU in a recent press release. “These copycat cannabis products are a public health concern given that people—including children—could mistake them for snacks and accidentally consume them. From 2017 to 2019, U.S. Poison Control Centers handled nearly 2,000 cases of young children ages 0 to 9 consuming edibles.”

Photo by Ryan Quintal via Unsplash

FDA Further Explains The Problem

FDA said that THC edibles can be easily mistaken for commonly consumed foods such as breakfast cereal, candy, and cookies, and accidentally ingested, which can lead to adverse events, especially in children.

The agency further reiterated that some edible products are specifically designed to look like popular branded foods using similar brand names, logos, and package designs.

The FDA said is aware of reports of copycat products packaged to look like Cap’n Crunch, Cocoa Pebbles, Cocoa Puffs, Froot Loops, Fruity Pebbles, Nerds Ropes, Starbursts, Sour Patch Kids, and Trix, among others.

Examples of Products

Food Products Containing THC - Sample Product Images
Image: Courtesy of FDA

From January 2021 to April 2022, the FDA received more than 100 adverse reports of both children and adults who consumers THC-infused edibles. Some of those individuals had adverse events like hallucinations, increased heart rate and vomiting and many needed up in hospital.

RELATED: Major Food Brands Want To Get Rid Off Cannabis Copycats — Here’s How

Seven of the reports specifically mention the edible product to be a copycat of popular foods, such as Cocoa Pebbles, Nerds Rope, Skittles, Sour Patch Kids, and Starburst, reports FDA.

The FDA warning letter comes on the heels of six students being taken to the hospital after eating cannabis-infused Cheetos at a California elementary school on Thursday, reported Insider.

RELATED: How Long Do Marijuana Edibles Stay In Your System?

marijuana edibles
Photo by Kindel Media via Pexels

What Should Individuals Do In Case Of Adverse Effects

The agency said it is engaged in finding the solution to this problem, constantly overseeing the market. It advises consumers to call 911 if someone is having serious side effect from these products, to keep them out of children’s reach, and to call the local poison control center (1-800-222-1222) if a child has consumed these product without waiting for symptoms to appear.

This article originally appeared on Benzinga and has been reposted with permission.

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