Illegal ‘copycat’ cannabis edibles causing serious harm to children Health Canada warns

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Published May 11, 2023 at 10:21 am

illegal copycat cannabis

The accidental ingestion of illegal “copycat” edible cannabis products is causing serious harm to children Health Canada warns.

Health Canada just issued a warning about illegal cannabis edibles that mimic popular brand-name snack foods such as Oreos and Cheetos.

The copycat illegal edible cannabis products look like popular brands and are in colourful packaging, which may be appealing to children.

But these products can contain high amounts of THC, which increases the risk of experiencing adverse effects or poisoning.

“Parents and children may not be able to recognize these products as anything other than their favourite brands of candy or snack foods,” Health Canada warns.

illegal cannabis copycat

The products could cause serious harm if children accidentally eat the edible cannabis.

“Health Canada is aware of children being hospitalized, particularly after consuming products that are illegal and unregulated,” Health Canada notes.

illegal cannabis copycat

And hospitals have seen an increase in visits to the emergency room and poison centres have seen an increase in calls, according to Health Canada.

“Poisonings can be life-threatening, sometimes resulting in coma, being put on a ventilator, or in rare cases, even death,” Health Canada states. “While there have been no fatal cases reported in Canada to date, Health Canada is aware of international cases of paediatric cannabis poisoning leading to death.”

illegal cannabis copycat

The issue with these products is the “flashy packaging, pictures, catchy names, and strange THC symbols.”

They are illegal and unregulated, should not be consumed and should be reported to police.

In contrast, legal cannabis products are packaged in plain packaging, which helps reduce their appeal to youth and avoids them from being confused with other products.

illegal cannabis copycat

Legal cannabis product packaging also comes with a health warning message in a yellow box, the red cannabis symbol, an excise stamp, and is packaged in child-resistant packaging to prevent children from being able to open the product.

Product: Illegal edible cannabis products under names such as:

  • Cheetos,
  • Stoneo (packaged to look like Oreo Cookies),
  • Nerds Rope,
  • Froot Loopz,
  • Skittles,
  • Starburst Gummies,
  • Ruffles, Doritos, Fritos,
  • Jolly Rancher Gummies Sours,
  • Stoney Patch(packaged to look like Sour Patch Kids),
  • Airheads Xtremes,
  • Twonkie (packaged to look like Twinkies),
  • Fruit Gushers
  • MaryJanerds products — Sour Watermelon, Sour Patch Kids, Sour Cherry Blasters, Fuzzy Peach
  • HIGH-CHEW candy

Issue: These are unauthorized cannabis products that could cause serious harm or even death to children.

What you should do: When purchasing cannabis, purchase only legal and regulated cannabis products in plain packaging with child-resistant features and only from provincially and territorially authorized retailers. Store all cannabis products securely and out of the reach and sight of children, teens, and pets.

For more information, see the Health Canada website.

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