The FDA is warning consumers that the copycat packaging of some edibles has led to accidental ingestion of THC, the psychoactive substance found in marijuana. The THC-laced products are packaged to look like candy and cereal such as Cap’n Crunch, Cocoa Pebbles, Cocoa Puffs, Froot Loops, Fruity Pebbles, Trix, Nerds Ropes, Starbursts, and Sour Patch Kids.
What is Delta 8 THC?
Delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol, also known as delta-8 THC, is a psychoactive substance found in small amounts in cannabis plants including marijuana and hemp, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It is similar to Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, Delta-9-THC, the main psychoactive compound found in marijuana that produces a “high,” but it is milder.
Because cannabis plants only contain small amounts of delta-8, additional chemicals are needed to synthetically convert other cannabinoids in hemp, like CBD, into delta-8 THC, according to the FDA. This process sometimes involves the use of “potentially unsafe household chemicals” which add harmful by-products to the finished product.
Delta 8 products have not been approved by the FDA for safe use in any context.
Reports to Poison Control Centers, One Pediatric Death
On January 1, 2021, national poison control centers added a product code for delta-8 THC to the database they use. Over the following 14 months, the poison control centers received 2,362 reports of exposure to these products. Of those:
- 45 percent required medical evaluation
- 41 percent involved pediatric patients
- 40 percent were unintentional exposures
- 8 percent were admitted to critical care
- 1 pediatric case was coded with a medical outcome of death
Reports to the FDA
Between January 2021 and April 24, 2022, the FDA received over 100 reports of adverse events among children and adults who consumed edible products containing THC. Some reported experiencing hallucinations, increased heart rate, and vomiting. Many required medical intervention or hospitalization, the agency said. “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.”
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