FDA Sends Warning to Companies Selling THC Products That Look Like Candy, Cookies
WEDNESDAY, July 5, 2023 (HealthDay News) -- Several companies are selling copycat food items that have the potential to trick people, including children, into consuming dangerous quantities of cannabis.
On Wednesday the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Trade Commission warned six companies about selling these copycat food products that contain delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol, also known as delta-8 THC, a substance found in the cannabis sativa plant.
The snack foods with delta-8 THC can be mistaken for regular chips, cookies, candies and gummies, according to the FDA.
"Children are more vulnerable than adults to the effects of THC, with many who have been sickened and even hospitalized after eating 'edibles' containing it. That's why we're issuing warnings to several companies selling copycat food products containing delta-8 THC, which can be easily mistaken for popular foods that are appealing to children and can make it easy for a young child to ingest in very high doses without realizing it," FDA Principal Deputy Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock said in an agency news release.
The FDA sent warning letters to Delta Munchies, Dr. Smoke LLC (also known as Dr. S LLC), Exclusive Hemp Farms/Oshipt, Nikte's Wholesale LLC, North Carolina Hemp Exchange LLC and The Haunted Vapor Room.
"The products we are warning against intentionally mimic well-known snack food brands by using similar brand names, logos or pictures on packaging, that consumers, especially children, may confuse with traditional snack foods,” Woodcock said. “We're also concerned that adults could unintentionally take them or take a higher dose than expected and suffer serious consequences. This risk is especially dangerous for those who are driving, working or have other responsibilities.”
Delta-8 THC has psychoactive and intoxicating effects. It has not been evaluated or approved by the FDA for safe use in any context, including when added to food.
People who have consumed these foods have reported serious adverse events to the FDA, including hallucinations, vomiting, tremor, anxiety, dizziness, confusion and loss of consciousness.
The FDA is also concerned that companies are producing delta-8 THC in ways that could result in products with harmful contaminants.
"Marketing edible THC products that can be easily mistaken by children for regular foods is reckless and illegal," said Samuel Levine, director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection. "Companies must ensure that their products are marketed safely and responsibly, especially when it comes to protecting the well-being of children."
In June 2022, the FDA warned consumers about eating foods containing delta-8 THC. At that time, it had received 125 adverse event reports starting in January 2021, related to children and adults who consumed these edible products containing delta-8 THC. Among the reports were 10 that specifically mentioned the edible product was a copycat of a popular snack food.
Someone who thinks a product may have caused a reaction or illness should immediately stop using it and call their health care provider. Consumers and health care providers can report these adverse reactions with FDA-regulated products to the agency using MedWatch or the Safety Reporting Portal.
The FDA has requested written responses from the six companies within 15 working days. They are asked to say how they will address these violations and prevent them from happening again. If they don’t respond promptly, they may face legal action.
“The FDA remains committed to taking action against any company illegally selling regulated products that could pose a risk to public health,” Woodcock said.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on poisoning with marijuana products.
SOURCE: U.S. Food and Drug Administration, news release, July 5, 2023