U.S – The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have taken action against six companies marketing edible products containing delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a psychoactive compound derived from cannabis in packaging that is nearly identical to common snacks for children.

The agencies issued cease and desist letters to these companies, warning them about their deceptive advertising practices and packaging that closely imitates popular snacks for children.

The six companies under scrutiny, including Delta Munchies, Exclusive Hemp Farms, North Carolina Hemp Exchange, Dr. Smoke, Nikte’s Wholesale, and The Haunted Vapor Room, were found to be selling THC-infused versions of well-known snacks like Doritos tortilla chips, Cheetos cheese-flavored snacks, Nerds, and gummy candies.

Their products, packaged in a manner almost indistinguishable from traditional children’s treats, raised concerns over potential accidental consumption by young children.

FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection Director, Samuel Levine, called marketing such edible THC products to children “reckless and illegal,” emphasizing the need for companies to prioritize safety, particularly when it comes to children’s well-being.

The agencies’ letters revealed that some of the companies’ packaging was eerily similar to popular children’s snacks. For instance, Dr. Smoke’s THC-infused “Doritos” closely resembled the packaging of Doritos Nacho Cheese Flavored Tortilla Chips, using the same red background, Doritos name and logo, and even depicting two tortilla chips in the same position.

The Haunted Vapor Room’s delta-8 THC products called “Rope 500mg delta-8 Nerds Candy” and “Medicated Dope Rope Bites” bore a striking resemblance to Nerds Rope candy, complete with multi-colored crunchy candies attached to a gummy rope. Even the packaging seemed to feature the Nerds candy mascot.

These deceptive marketing practices raised serious concerns for the FTC and FDA, as THC can have psychoactive effects similar to those of delta-9 THC, the main psychoactive component of marijuana. While delta-8 THC is estimated to be 50-75% as psychoactive as delta-9 THC, it still poses risks, especially for children.

Reports indicated that the FDA received 125 adverse event reports related to THC consumption by children and adults between January 2021 and May 2022. These reports highlighted adverse effects such as lethargy, loss of coordination, slurred speech, increased heart rate, low blood pressure, difficulty breathing, sedation, and even coma.

Janet Woodcock, Principal Deputy Commissioner at the FDA, emphasized that children are more vulnerable than adults to the effects of THC. Many children have fallen sick or even been hospitalized after inadvertently consuming THC-infused edibles.

The FTC and FDA have made it clear that protecting children from potential health and safety risks is a top priority. They have asked the six companies to respond within 15 days with specific measures they have taken to address the issue and rectify their deceptive marketing practices.

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