States where THC-based products are readily available, whether ostensibly for “medical” purposes or for recreational use, experience a phenomenal growth in the number of drug-laced food products on the market. By some accounts, more than 300 THC-laced foods show up for sale.

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Could your children tell these are laced with powerful levels of THC?

What’s worse, these potentially dangerous foods are packaged to appeal to children, not to 70-year old cancer patients receiving chemo treatments. How else do you explain potent drugs disguised as lollipops, cookies, gummy bears, Rice Krispy treats, soda, gummy worms, “apple jacks”, marshmallow peeps or other similar candies and snacks?

In Colorado, where recreational use of THC is legal, ER admissions for THC-related issues have risen steeply, including a 200% rise in admissions for children under five. THC-related diagnosis assigned to patients at discharge have likewise risen sharply.

In Florida in the last several months, we have seen more than one story about “edibles”, THC-laced candies, being confiscated in transit or used in high schools. In April 2016, five students from the Boca Ciega High School were taken to Children’s Hospital after eating drug-laced candy which was later confirmed to be edibles infused with THC.

THC is an incredible powerful drug when concentrated. As little as 10 mg is enough to get an adult intoxicated so its effects on young children could be much more devastating. In some cases, a single gummy bear may contain 10 mgs of THC and single cookies often contain enough THC to intoxicate several adults.

So, how can you tell a drug-laced gummy bear when you see one?

The sad truth is, you can’t. The only way to know whether a gummy bear contains THC and how dangerous it might be is by reading its packaging. And even then, there is no assurance that every gummy bear in a package contains the same dose.

Because edibles do not spread the telltale odor associated with smoking pot, they can be easily consumed anywhere — at school, at home or while driving — without detection.

And as for younger children, how many 5 or 10 year-olds do you know who routinely read candy packages to determine if they are safe before they begin devouring them?