Four children needed hospital treatment in England after eating sweets thought to have contained cannabis.
A 12-year-old boy was discharged on May 1 and the other three were expected to be released from hospital in Surrey after being kept in overnight for monitoring and observation.
Two 12-year-olds, one girl and a boy, and a 13-year-old boy were taken to hospital after suffering a violent reaction from eating jelly sweets. Three of the children were vomiting uncontrollably and falling in and out of consciousness.
Searching for the source
Surrey Police said they are not thought to have suffered any long term ill-effects and officers are still investigating where in Epsom the children got the edibles. A recent similar report in the local area involved jelly apple rings which appear as green jelly circles.
Detective Sgt. Lisa Betchley said police are looking for any information that may help them identify the source of the sweets.
“These children were incredibly lucky that they were not more seriously affected by whatever it was that they ate — and this is thanks, in great part, to the prompt actions of two medical students who happened to be nearby and assisted in the early stages; as well as the South East Coast Ambulance Service and hospital staff for their rapid response and treatment,” she said.
“These types of products, which may be marketed as cannabis infused or THC infused are illegal, and therefore otherwise unregulated, in the UK. They sometimes appear to be commercial products with professional packaging, but this should not be taken as a sign that they are safe or legal.
“I’d also ask anyone who has these types of products to think about how they store them and who could access them — consider the impact should these sweets come into the possession of younger children who have no knowledge of their contents.”
In March, the Metropolitan Police warned that a number of pupils in Sutton, South London, needed hospital treatment after eating gummy sweets containing cannabis.
In late April, the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) issued a warning about the danger associated with eating so-called edible marijuana products, such as jelly sweets, containing cannabis.
The agency said there had been a “number of recent incidents” whereby edible products with significant levels of the psychotropic cannabis component tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) were intercepted by An Garda Síochana (Irish Police) and Revenue’s Customs Service.
In one incident, sweets containing cannabis oil were consumed by a group of teenagers, one of whom suffered serious health effects requiring hospitalization. These sweets were bought online with the packaging warning to eat them cautiously and that a significant concentration of THC was present.
THC is a controlled substance in Ireland with no tolerance level set in legislation. In food, it is considered a contaminant, with no permitted threshold in Europe.
Pamela Byrne, FSAI chief executive, said sweets containing cannabis components are being sold online.
“They are dangerous, particularly for young people and those with prior health conditions who may consume them unwittingly. People should only ever buy food from reputable sources and be sure they check the food labels,” she said.
“This new development is a sinister attempt to sell narcotics in the form of sweets and those involved are obviously not concerned about the consequences of these products getting into the hands of vulnerable people like children who could consume these products unwittingly to the detriment of their health.”
(To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.)