Beware of THC-Laced Candy

Gummies in bulk in glass containersAmong all of the gummy candies, gummy bears are among the most beloved. However, many parents are now opting for other favorites due to the rise of THC-laced gummies. The rise of THC gummies, or candies made with tetrahydrocannabinol (the psychedelic property found in marijuana), have become increasingly popular in the medical marijuana market, which may be why increasing numbers of young people are arriving at emergency rooms, ill from high dosages of the drug.

Many medical marijuana users prefer to ingest THC with edibles like gummies and baked goods rather than to smoke marijuana. According to Dan Anglin of the Colorado Cannabis Chamber of Commerce, drug-infused edibles comprise approximately half of Colorado’s legal cannabis market.

House Bill 1366, passed in 2014, required state regulators to devise laws on edible cannabis products so they are more identifiable when out of their packaging and less appealing to young people. However, kids who are not typically instructed to check for an identifying stamp or emblem on candies may accidentally ingest THC-laced candies. Children are also still at risk to be enticed by the unmarked THC gummies in circulation due to homemade production.

Unmarked gummies may have been at play when 12 Naperville North High School students ingested THC gummies and were sent to Edward Hospital for their accelerated heart rates, agitation, dizziness, and dry mouth. The two teens who distributed the weed gummies were charged with the delivery of marijuana. Another case of THC illness was reported when 11 Indiana teens ate less than one gummy bear each. “The strength is so strong that it caused an adverse reaction in 11 people – not one person, not three – it wasn’t just a small batch or a bad batch”, said Indiana Police Capt. Kellems.

The effect of THC is accelerated when eaten rather than smoked, according to the Marijuana Policy Project. Most edible marijuana is metabolized by the liver, which then produces a kind of THC that has a bigger psychedelic punch than the THC that reaches your blood plasma when you smoke it. The high will last much longer too, up to 12 hours.

The best thing you can do to keep your child safe this Halloween season is to carefully inspect your child’s candy. Here are a few rules you can follow to keep THC laced candies from your children this Halloween:

  • Discard candies printed with a marijuana leaf emblem on the packaging or on the candy itself.
  • All candy packaging should appear to be straight from a factory. Do not allow candies that have been hand-packaged.
  • Be wary of abnormally sized and shaped gummy bears. The gummy bear molds often used to make THC gummies are larger than the typical gummy bear size.
  • When it doubt, throw it out!

 

The Link Between Suicide and Substance Use Disorder

Suicirsz_istock_000001170662_largede is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States [1], but for people dealing with a substance use disorder, suicide risk is profoundly increased. In fact, those with substance use disorder face suicide as the number-one cause of death [2], making this population six times more likely to commit suicide than those without a substance use disorder [3].

Conditions that can flare or develop during a cycle of drug use are commonly depression and mood disorders, which are also the conditions that pose the highest risk for suicide. When an individual uses drugs and alcohol, emotions are intensified— positive feelings can bring a heightened euphoria while depressive feelings can bring intense despair. This mental state of dejection is what leads to the attempt or completion of self-inflicted death.

Interestingly, thoughts of suicide have also been seen to remain even after drugs have worn off. The effects of drug withdrawal may trigger suicidal thoughts due to the physical discomforts associated with withdrawal and depression caused by the depletion of “happy” neurotransmitters during an individual’s use.

Substance use can increase the risk of suicide in many different ways. There are different rates of suicide associated with specific drug use disorders, especially in regards to the use of opioids and alcohol.

  • Those with opiate use disorder are 14 times more likely to complete suicide [3].
  • Women with alcohol use disorders are 20 times more likely to complete suicide [3].
  • Men with alcohol use disorders are 4 times more likely to complete suicide [3].

Suicide prevention for someone with a substance use disorder begins with treatment. Gateway uses evidenced-based treatments to solve the underlying issues of an entire range of problems, including substance use disorder, depressive disorders, and suicidal ideation. Learn more about Gateway’s specialized co-occurring treatment programs at https://recovergateway.org/gateway/drug-rehab/Co-Occurring-Treatment/

 

[1] CDC Web Based Inquiry Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS), 2015.

[2] Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, 2008.

[3] The National Center for Biotechnology Information, 2015.