More kids being hospitalized after eating THC-laced treats that look like candy, doctor says

ORLANDO, Fla. — An Orlando pediatric critical care doctor said she is seeing more cases of young children hospitalized after accidentally eating something laced with THC.


Some products with THC are packaged to look like Cap’n Crunch, Cocoa Pebbles, Nerds Ropes, Starbursts and more.

The FDA has a new alert out this month warning parents about the dangers.

“It looks to the eye to someone who would just glance at it, the same. And once the candy is out of the wrapper the candy looks the same,” said Dr. Jenna Wheeler.

READ: Man accused of selling homemade THC edibles to children at school

Young kids are getting their hands on tainted treats.

“They are coming in with significant side effects from ingesting again what they thought was candy,” Wheeler said.

Wheeler said she is seeing more cases of elementary-aged children coming into the hospital after consuming what they thought was candy.

“We are seeing the kids come in severely altered, not being to recognize their parents, unable to respond to questions there’s a risk of seizure when kids come in like this,” Wheeler said.

READ: FDA warns parents that edible products with THC can be easily mistaken for common food products

Then, doctors run tests and drug screenings and find THC Delta 8.

Delta 8 is a variant of Delta 9, which is the active ingredient in marijuana.

Delta 8 THC is often sold at gas stations and smoke shops. It is completely legal under the federal farm bill because it is derived from hemp.

National poison control centers received more than 10,000 calls for THC product exposures from Jan. 1, 2021, through May 31 of this year.

READ: Man befriended victim, shared soda and cigarettes, before deadly shooting outside IHOP, deputies say

Wheeler is urging parents to keep a look out and have important conversations with anyone their child may spend time around.

It could make all the difference.

“It is a terrifying experience for these families,” Wheeler said.

Florida legislators introduced a bill last year that would regulate the sale of hemp products but the committee bill died in March.

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