Trend of illegal cannabis edibles in UK is ‘worrying’, says CIEH

Concerns have been raised over the illegal sale of cannabis edibles online in the UK.

Various police forces have warned against the products as they are not permitted in the UK. They are mainly sold online via TikTok, Facebook Marketplace and Snapchat and it is unknown where they are produced or by whom.

Edibles can be edibles containing the cannabis component tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and come in many forms, but primarily jelly beans. THC does not have an authorized threshold in European food legislation. The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) has previously urged people to be vigilant about the dangers posed by children consuming cannabis edibles.

In Ireland, at least six children under the age of 10 have been hospitalized in 2021 and many cases of young people sick in the UK have been reported.

Difference CBD and THC
Food Standards Scotland (FSS), Police Scotland and Public Health Scotland have raised concerns about the production and online marketing of cannabis edibles by organized crime groups at an FSS Board meeting Last year.

A photo shared by West Yorkshire Police in November 2021

However, Paul Tossell, team leader for novel foods and radiation policy at the Food Standards Agency, said the issue was outside the agency’s remit.

“If a product, intended for consumption, contains a controlled substance, it could be a narcotic and as such would not be considered food, so it should be referred to the police,” he said. he declared.

The FSA is responsible for regulating cannabidiol (CBD) in novel foods, a chemical from the cannabis plant, but this does not include THC, which is a controlled substance under the Misuse of Drugs Act .

The Home Office handles license applications from those in England, Wales and Scotland who wish to produce, supply, cultivate cannabis plants and import or export controlled drugs. However, the agency takes into account the requirements of regulatory bodies such as the FSA and trading standards.

Growing problem
The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) has expressed serious concern about the uncontrolled sale of goods on platforms such as Facebook and other social media.

“When it comes to food, these largely unregulated sites are like the Wild West. Items such as cannabis candy are of concern. If they were sold on the high street, there would be an obligation to declare the ingredients, to declare the presence of allergens and the name of the manufacturer, so that buyers and regulators are informed, ”said Julie Barratt, president of the CIEH.

“Danky Milk”, “Znickerz” and “Drolo” sold on Facebook Marketplace

“As things stand, we regulators don’t know any more than the general public. We don’t know where to find the manufacturers or what is put in these candies or in what quality. We can’t trace the growers to work with them or take action against them, so they continue to thrive.

“Cannabis gummies will clearly appeal to children, but we don’t know how much cannabis there is in the gummies, how pure it is, and what ‘dose’ is safe and what isn’t. People who want to buy cannabis candies knowing what they are will do, but there is a real risk that children will eat them thinking they are just candy or that they are being given to people who don’t do not know that they contain cannabis, and who would not want to eat them if they were properly informed.

Identification issues
Cannabis edibles can be difficult to identify as the packaging may differ only slightly from legal items. Differences can be in appearance, spelling, or poor quality packaging, depending on the font.

Edibles are stronger than other cannabis products, officials say. Swallowed cannabis takes longer to have an impact, increasing the risk of overdose. Effects may include dry mouth, nausea, hallucinations, difficulty breathing, and anxiety.

“Is the sale of such products a subject of investigation by the police or by environmental health and trade standards? I suspect both, as the drugs creep up the food chain, although I am not aware of discussions between agencies as to who is responsible,” Barratt said.

“If there is a market for cannabis gummies and it is a legal product, we cannot oppose their manufacture and sale, but they must be manufactured in a properly regulated environment and controlled and be subject to the same safeguards as any other food product.. Unfortunately, when it comes to selling food on the internet, legislation has to work to keep pace, and enforcement always lags behind legislation.

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