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Halloween Health Advisory: Hemp-Derived Gummies, Brownies, Lollipops, and Candies Are Dangerous to Children 

Date: October 28, 2022
Number: NR22-158
Contact: CDPHpress@cdph.ca.gov 

SACRAMENTO – With Halloween approaching, the California Department of Public Health warns parents and consumers about the danger of children consuming hemp-derived products containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). These products look similar to common candies and baked goods, like gummies, lollipops, and brownies. As a result, these products can be attractive to children, and when consumed, can cause adverse reactions such as becoming ill, or in extreme cases, result in death. These products should not be eaten by children.  

Children exposed to hemp-derived manufactured food products, such as cannabidiol (CBD) candies, has increased and parents should be aware of the dangers. These products may be mislabeled as hemp-derived and contain varying amounts of intoxicating cannabinoids (for example, unknown levels of THC). The number of children who are eating these products is increasing, with higher frequencies of incidents in states where the use of these products is legal. Children who eat these products may exhibit the following symptoms: 

  • Sleepiness 
  • Fatigue 
  • Diarrhea 
  • Seizures in toddlers 
  • Uncoordinated movements and decreased psychomotor activity 
  • Slurred speech 
  • Vomiting 
  • Low blood pressure 
  • Difficulty breathing 
  • Sedation 
  • Coma 

Measures people can take to keep these products out of the hands of children include: 

  • storing products out of reach and/or in locked locations, similar to medications; 
  • not using these products in front of children; and 
  • checking your children’s candies, especially as Halloween approaches, and if anything looks suspicious, throw them out. 

Additional resources on the dangers to children caused by unintentional consumption of these products and recommendations for prevention are provided by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the National Capital Poison Center, and the American Academy of Pediatrics. If you suspect or know that a child has consumed one of these products, immediately dial 9-1-1, or call your physician or the Poison Control Hotline (1-800-222-1222).  

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