Edibles packaged like candy stirs controversy

Cannabis-infused candies
Photo courtesy of Juneau Empire

Edible cannabis products or edibles are a popular, less detectable alternative to smoking marijuana. The edibles are produced with marijuana leaves or higher strength cannabis extracts. They may be in the form of familiar baked items, candies, and beverages, and are frequently made to appeal to young people. Although the package labeling may disclose that the product contains THC, when unwrapped, the product may appear to be ordinary food.

Since Jan. 1, 2021, the American Association of Poison Control Center reportedly received 2,362 exposure instances involving edible cannabis products. According to an FDA report; 41% of the calls included children, with at least one child dying.

Keyshia Jacobs is a mother of 3 and a resident of Tallahassee, Florida. She says the packaging of infused cannabis products should be changed to not look similar to non cannabis infused products.

“The way edibles are packaged is very similar to regular packaging. That can be confusing for children. Kids see oreos and think it’s regular cookies not knowing they’re more than just cookies. Therefore, edibles should be kept out of the reach of children and only sold in smoke shops behind the counter or in a case. My main concern is keeping edibles out of the hands of children to prevent a trip to the hospital,” Jacobs said.

Mark Williams is a junior chemical engineering major at Florida A&M University. He thinks edible packaging should include more information about the ingredients.

“Edibles should have more information on the packaging in big fonts. For example, I’ve seen Sour Patch kids edibles that mimic the regular Sour Patch kids candy packaging down to the font, colors and package size. You can’t tell me a kid could tell the difference. When you walk into gas stations, you see edibles on shelves near the card terminals. Anyone not paying attention  could pick it up. These companies have to be more mindful,” Williams said.

Respiratory discomfort, lack of coordination, lethargy, and loss of consciousness are all symptoms of THC overdose. If you suspect someone has become ill after eating THC-rich food, call the American Association of Poison Control Center hotline at 1-800-222-1222.