Five of a group of over 60 students from the Ocho Rios Primary School in Jamaica remain in hospital in stable but critical condition after consuming weed-infused candy and experiencing extreme side effects.
The group of 60 primary school students were rushed to the hospital last Monday after purchasing a candy called Sour Belts, which contains Delta-8 THC, a psychoactive substance found in the Cannabis sativa plant. The candy caused the children to experience several side effects including hallucinations and vomiting.
According to reports, the students had purchased the candy from an unfamiliar vendor who turned up at the school gate on Monday morning.
Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton said persons on the island should not be selling the product because of its effects.
“A quick examination of the packaging suggests that it is marijuana extract-infused edible package and looks as if it’s being marketed to children. This product was not given any approval to be imported into the country; the Government does not support, through the approval process, any marijuana edible products.”
In the United States, 8 THC products are not approved for safe use. The Food and Drug Administration said 8 THC products may cause hallucinations, vomiting, tremors, confusion, and loss of consciousness, among other side effects. FDA says these products should also be kept away from children.
The sour belts candy contains 100MG per piece, according to the packaging — a dose that is only recommended for experienced consumers who have a high tolerance for THC.
Tufton urged persons selling the product to desist from doing so.
Meanwhile, Education Minister Fayval Williams said she was alarmed at the state of the children.
“I am extremely, extremely alarmed at what I saw here this afternoon. To hear people say they’re drowsy and to actually see the children, they looked drugged out; it’s that dramatic,” Williams said.
In the meantime, the Jamaica Constabulary Force is urging the male vendor who sold the sweets to the students to turn himself in.
Head of the St. Ann Police Division, Senior Superintendent Dwight Powell, says the vendor was not a regular vendor at the school.
“It was the first time we are told that he was visiting the school compound. Police have been informed and a team has been dispatched to the school where we are gathering information around this incident,” Powell said.