Cannabis edibles incorrectly sold as cannabis extracts may lead to overconsumption of Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)
Before consuming any cannabis product, ensure that you read and understand the label, which identifies the amount of THC per unit and per package. Store all cannabis products securely and out of the reach and sight of children and pets.
Some edible cannabis products were found to contain more than the allowable limit of 10 mg of THC per package. These non-compliant products in product formats similar to gummies and other confectionary products such as hard candy, have been incorrectly marketed and sold as cannabis extracts.
Health Canada has become aware of edible cannabis products available for sale that contain a quantity of THC that exceeds the allowable limit of 10 mg of THC per package. Consumers of these items may accidentally consume higher than expected levels of THC, which can cause adverse reactions (side effects).
These product formats similar to gummies and other confectionary products such as hard candy, have been incorrectly marketed and sold as cannabis extracts. Cannabis extracts may contain up to 1,000 mg of THC per package, with up to 10 mg of THC per unit.
Edible cannabis products are intended to be consumed in the same manner as food. They often have a pleasant taste, odour and texture, and look like conventional food or drinks. It takes longer to feel the effects of cannabis when it is ingested orally (by mouth), and the effects last longer than when cannabis is smoked or inhaled. As a result, there is an increased risk that edible cannabis products may be consumed accidentally (particularly by children) or overconsumed.
To reduce these risks, the Cannabis Act and the Cannabis Regulations set out a number of legal requirements, such as the requirement for child resistant packaging, and a prohibition against products that are appealing to young persons. The Regulations also prohibit edible cannabis products from containing more than 10 mg of THC per package. Edible cannabis products that do not comply with this requirement may pose a health and safety risk.
Signs that an individual has consumed high quantities of THC can include:
- chest pain
- rapid heartbeat
- psychotic episode
- slowed and ineffective breathing (respiratory depression)
- severe anxiety
- panic attack
- slurred speech
- unsteadiness on feet
- muscle weakness
- loss of consciousness
Who is affected
- Consumers that have purchased edible cannabis products that have been incorrectly marketed and sold as cannabis extracts, and that do not comply with the 10 mg of THC per package limit for edible cannabis.
What consumers should do
- Always read and understand the label of cannabis products, which identifies the amount of THC per unit and per package, prior to consuming cannabis products to ensure you are consuming them correctly.
- Start with a low amount of THC and wait to feel the effects before taking more. More consumer information can be found here.
- If you are experiencing adverse effects, stop using the product, and seek treatment from poison centres or call 911.
- Report suspected adverse reactions here. You can also report concerns, complaints or adverse reactions directly to the licence holder. Provide as much information about the adverse reaction as you can (product details, company, lot or batch number, and THC and CBD content).
- Store cannabis securely away from children and pets. Be especially careful with all edible cannabis, which can be mistaken for regular food or drinks, especially if it is removed from its original, childproof packaging. Consider storing cannabis in a locked drawer or box and separate from regular food or drinks. More information on safe cannabis storage can be found here.
- Do not drive or engage in other safety-sensitive activities if you are consuming cannabis.
- Only purchase and consume cannabis products that are sold by legally authorized provincial and territorial retail outlets.
- If you have questions or concerns about cannabis and your health, consult your health care practitioner.
Reporting issues with cannabis products
Health Canada welcomes reports from consumers, health professionals, industry and the general public about cannabis products. For concerns and complaints that might represent a possible violation of the federal cannabis laws or regulations, individuals may contact Health Canada through the Cannabis Reporting Form.
Examples of concerns with cannabis products could include:
- product labelling (for example, missing mandatory health warning message)
- product packaging (for example, shape that may be appealing to youth)
- promotions (for example, cannabis radio commercial)
- product quality (for example, mould, powdery mildew, pesticides)
- cannabis production site (for example, security concerns at a licensed site)
- cannabis accessories (for example, injury caused by malfunction)
All reports received through the Cannabis Reporting Form will be reviewed to determine if they are within Health Canada's responsibilities and if so, they will be assessed and prioritized for action according to the risk to public health and safety. Actions taken will be consistent with Health Canada's Compliance and Enforcement Policy for the Cannabis Act.
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