Four children have been taken to hospital after eating jelly sweets containing cannabis which left them vomiting uncontrollably in a Surrey commuter town.
A 12-year-old girl, a 12-year-old boy and a boy aged 13 suffered ‘a violent reaction from eating jelly sweets that they believed contained cannabis’, Surrey Police said.
A fourth 12-year-old boy was taken to hospital by his family as a precaution because he is also believed to have eaten the sweets in Epsom.
It comes just weeks after Met Police issued a warning about cannabis-laced sweets after ‘several’ schoolchildren were rushed to hospital in the nearby Sutton area.
The sweets look like normal gummy bears or similar treats but are infused with cannabis and cause a similar effect to smoking it.
While no-one has ever died as a direct result of cannabis, users or those who have never taken the drug can misjudge doses, especially when eating it, and suffer side effects like vomiting and panic attacks.
Four children have been taken to hospital after eating jelly sweets containing cannabis which left them vomiting uncontrollably, Surrey Police said. Police said they were called by the South East Coast Ambulance service to the parade of shops on Pound Lane. Epsom, where three children were vomiting uncontrollably and falling in and out of consciousness
The sweets look like normal gummy bears or similar treats but are infused with cannabis (an example pictured, nothing suggests these were the sweets consumed by the children) and cause a similar effect to smoking it
South East Coast Ambulance rushed to a parade of shops to find three children vomiting uncontrollably and falling in and out of consciousness today.
They were taken to hospital by ambulance where all four will remain overnight for observation.
There is a suggestion that the sweets may have been supplied to the children at the nearby Court Recreation Ground.
Police do not have a clear description of the sweets involved, although a similar report from Friday night involved ‘jelly apple rings’ which appear as green jelly circles.
Detective Sergeant Lee Marks, of Surrey Police, said: ‘We are, of course, trying to understand what these sweets are, where they came from and what they contain.
‘However, our immediate priority is to warn parents; and to tell children in the area not to be tempted to try them as they are obviously causing substantial harm.
While no-one has ever died as a direct result of cannabis, users or those who have never taken the drug can misjudge doses, especially when eating it, and suffer side effects like vomiting and panic attacks (stock picture)
The rules on cannabis in the UK
Cannabis is illegal for recreational use in the UK, although it has been available on prescription for medicinal purposes since it was approved by the Government in July 2018.
Doctors are able to prescribe medicine derived from marijuana, but the decision to must be made by a specialist doctor – not a GP, the Government rules.
At the time of law change, the Home Secretary Sajid Javid (2018-2019) said: ‘Following advice from two sets of independent advisors, I have taken the decision to reschedule cannabis-derived medicinal products – meaning they will be available on prescription.
‘This will help patients with an exceptional clinical need.’
Cannabis is illegal for recreational use in the UK, although it can be prescribed for medicinal purposes
Mr Javid added it was ‘in no way a first step to the legalisation of cannabis for recreational use’.
It came after he granted an exceptional licence for Alfie Dingley, then six, and Billy Caldwell, then 12, to use cannabis for their epilepsy.
Possession of the class B drug still carries an unlimited fine and up to five years in jail, while dealers face 14 years in prison.
Some products that might claim to be medical cannabis, such as CBD oil or hemp oil, are available to buy legally as food supplements from health stores.
But there’s no guarantee these are of good quality or provide any health benefits.
‘These types of products, which may be marketed as ‘cannabis infused’ or ‘CBD infused’ are illegal, and therefore unregulated, in the UK.
‘They can appear to be commercial products with professional packaging, but this should not be taken as a sign that they are safe or legal.’
In March, Met Police issued an urgent warning to parents after ‘several’ schoolchildren were rushed to hospital after eating gummy sweets laced with cannabis.
The pupils, from the Sutton area, had to receive urgent treatment after suffering side effects on March 12, while officers have warned of others falling ill since then.
Police said children caught with the weed sweets will be referred to them.
It is not clear exactly how many youngsters have been affected.
One school in the area, Greenshaw High School, shared the police notice on its Twitter account.
The warning said: ‘There has been an increase in young people buying what at first appear to be regular jelly sweets, gummy bears or similar sweets.
‘These sweets are not what they appear to be. They are in fact mixed with cannabis and have a detrimental effect on those eating them.
‘Sadly, a number of school pupils in Sutton have been either made very ill or hospitalised as a result of eating them.’
It comes just months after 13 teenage girls were put in hospital following a similar incident at La Sainte Union Catholic School in Highgate, Camden in October.
Scotland Yard later confirmed the sweets contained THC – the active component in cannabis.
Some of the girls spent the night at a hospital in Barnet, with the school at the time asking parents to obtain a ‘written statement,’ on how the drug-laced sweets were brought into school.
The girls were thought to have headed back to class, where they reported feeling dizzy, while some vomited.
One parent, Jan, who did not want to give her last name said: ‘We’ve heard that they ate too many of the Gummie Bears and then started feeling sick when they went into class.
‘The teacher became concerned because one of the girls vomited and the others felt as if they were about to. We’re still waiting to hear the full story from the school but it’s very worrying that this kind of behaviour is taking place during school time.’
Cannabis is illegal for recreational use in the UK, although it can be prescribed for medicinal purposes.
Some MPs have also said recently they believe the drug could become fully legalised in just a few years.
The Metropolitan Police has been approached for further comment.
Police have now issued a warning to parents and said children caught with the weed sweets will be referred to them
Sweet but dangerous: How cannabis infused treats have become a craze among teenagers
Cannabis infused sweets have become the latest craze among teenagers with authorities warning parents that they pose a serious danger because of their strength and if consumed to excess.
Known as ‘edibles’ they are freely available on the internet for around £20 for a packet of 30.
But street dealers are selling individual sweets for as little as £1 each, prompting a surge in popularity amongst school pupils, particularly in London and other urban areas.
The ‘edibles’ are attractively packaged in a way designed to appeal to young people while making it difficult to distinguish them from regular sweets.
One London schoolgirl told MailOnline: ‘All the kids are taking them, during school time and outside of it. They’re easy to get hold of and they’re very cheap, especially if you get them off the dealers. If you buy them on the internet, they’re delivered to your house.’
The ‘sweets’ come in a variety of different strengths of THC – the active component in cannabis, ranging from 75mg to a mind-bending 300mg, which can cause vomiting and other side effects.
Concerns have been raised however, that not all the packaging contains adequate information as to their strength and simply state ‘infused with cannabis.’
Some of the ‘sweets’ market themselves as a health treatment with one British website claiming: ‘Eating marijuana works better for LONG LASTING pain relief muscle spasms and similar conditions.’
Amongst the ‘edibles’ it lists are: Gummie Bears; Cherry Candy; Watermelon Rings and Peach Rings. THC laced fruit syrup is also available. All of it comes in stylised, colourful packaging.
While it is illegal to sell items containing THC in the UK for recreational purposes, it is legal for medical reasons, providing a dangerous loophole which many youngsters and dealers are exploiting.
Earlier this year, police warned children against eating watermelon-flavour sweets laced with cannabis.
They warned that the cartoon-covered Stoner Patch packets did not contain details about how strong the ‘sweets’ are and whether or not they are legal.
North Yorkshire PC Lauren Green said: ‘We want to make parents and carers aware that we have seen a rise in young people being in possession of drug-infused sweets known as “edibles”.
‘They can look very similar to well-known sweets such as Haribo, Smarties and chocolate bars. Edibles can be laced with illegal drugs such as cannabis and MDMA.
‘Unregulated sweets like these are dangerous as we don’t know what levels of drugs they contain.’