February 15, 2023
Valentine’s day is synonymous with chocolate and candy, but what if your chocolate is infused with THC? Even more concerning, what if your child is given or found candy infused with THC? When it comes to THC edibles, the best of child protections would allow edibles only in a nondescript tablet or pill, the next best option would be to restrict fun, kid-friendly shapes, flavors, and packaging. We must do more to protect our kids both in states that already have legal marijuana and prior to legalization in others.
Why it matters:
The most common THC overdose incidents in children occur when the drug has been combined with food in an “edible” form of marijuana. Ingested marijuana can have a more intense high and a much-extended duration, especially in children under the age of 12 years old, partly due to their size and weight.
Calls to poison control centers increased 1375.0% (this is not a typo!) from 2017 to 2021 due to children under age six eating marijuana edibles, according to an American Academy of Pediatrics article. The average age was 3 years old.
Symptoms of intoxication can vary and present in different degrees of dizziness, weakness, slurred speech, poor coordination, paranoia and anxiety, or lethargy and sleepiness, and could be hard to identify in a young child.
A Florida mom is pushing for safer packaging of marijuana edibles after she says her 6-year-old daughter accidentally ate a THC gummy, believing it was candy.
“Had the packaging been what it should be… my daughter wouldn’t have looked twice at it.” she wrote. “There needs to be regulation in place to keep companies from putting stuff like this on the market.”
Morgan spoke to One Chance To Grow Up and strongly stated; “We don’t package Clorox in Capri Sun packs so why do we allow this insidious packaging?”
For more of Morgan’s story in People magazine click HERE.
Oral ingestion of edibles (food products) includes drinks, capsules, powders, baked goods, snacks, and oils. The intoxicating effects usually take 60-90 minutes, with peak effects felt in about 4 hours. Intoxication can then last up to 8 hours. Oral consumption of THC takes longer to produce notable effects because of how THC is processed through the digestive system versus the respiratory system.
What you need to know:
- A large number of these products are in candy form, fruity, or chocolate flavored. In some cases, THC products are indistinguishable from non-THC products, increasing the risk of accidental ingestion. See how Kids are Caught in the Web.
- Flavors that are now prohibited in some nicotine products because they appeal to children, are still allowed by states to be added to marijuana products.
- Often packaging and marketing are attractive to kids and mimic famous brands.
- Colorless and odorless powders and “drink enhancers” including THC-infused sugar make it easy to add THC to any food or drink, with or without the consent of those consuming it.
- THC-infused edible production is vulnerable to potential food safety hazards, with no oversight by the FDA.
- Driving after public consumption is especially concerning given the uncertainty of when peak intoxication may occur.
- Many states do not have a universal symbol that identifies THC on the product itself, making an edible outside its packaging indistinguishable from a regular food item.
- Serving size of THC-infused products and serving size of everyday products often do not compare. See the examples below:
In the first photo, the THC serving size is on the left and a regular candy serving size is on the right. The Raisin package contains 20 servings. Who could eat just one?
Gaming the System:
Serving and Package size restrictions are helping but lack consistency and enforcement. Colorado edibles sold in the recreational market are limited to 10mg of THC per serving and 100mg per package, but the medical market and other types of products have no such restrictions. Canadian regulators are questioning edible products that dangerously exceed their 10-mg THC package limit. Manufacturers and sellers are misclassifying edible products such as lozenges and chewables, calling them “extracts”, so they can contain up to 1000mg of THC. Story HERE
Hemp-derived THC edibles are being sold nationwide in an unregulated market, online, with no age restrictions or enforcement. Some states allow these products to also be sold in convenience-type stores. Gummies of “25 milligrams of pure delta 8 THC, which is at the top of the range of standard dosage amounts” states one advertiser “means that you’ll certainly feel the effects that you’re looking for with each piece”. These companies acknowledge the intoxicating effects but will continue to sell using loopholes in the federal farm bill as cover until Congress or state governments stop them.
What you can do:
- Talk to young children about not eating anything that was not given to them by a trusted adult.
- Talk to your older kids and remind them to make sure they know where the product came from and trust the person giving it to them.
- Support the banning of candy, snacks, kid-friendly shapes, and flavors. Flavors added to THC products attract kids which can lead to overdose, early first use, and possible addiction to these products.
- Support the enforcement of trademark laws to stop psychoactive copycat products and encourage plain packaging that clearly identifies the product contains THC.
Please use this as a starting point for further learning and thoughtful discussions with your family and friends. Remember that marijuana products are evolving very rapidly. Unfortunately, many new, radically different, and often kid-friendly products are constantly being introduced and aggressively marketed. Check out THCPhotos.org for current updates on today’s available products in states where THC is commercially available. Please visit our website for more information and follow us on Twitter and Facebook and LinkedIn.
Thank you for your care and support in better protecting our kids.
The One Chance Team
If you have a story about marijuana harms or know someone who does, we would like to help share those stories. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.