Cannabis candy and vapes tempting middle schoolers in Roscoe


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In a recent email to parents, Roscoe Middle School Principal Julie Cropp warned of an "uptick in reports of middle school students in the Roscoe community vaping and taking edibles," including a cannabis gummy candy, "Movie Munchies," that uses brand names of popular candies but contains 450 mg of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana.

"Although it is my responsibility to handle any situation that arises at school," said Cropp in an April 15 email, "I also worry about our students outside of the school... These products are easily hidden and therefore easily overlooked by concerned parents." Cropp attached pictures of the "Movie Munchies" candy and of a Juul e-cigarette with vaping pods, similar to USB flash drives, which can dispense flavored nicotine, CBD or THC vapors. The Juul corporation denies that it intended to encourage teens to vape when it produced ads showing young people dancing and vaping, and says that the tidal wave of popularity of Juul among teens was purely accidental.

Cropp wrote, "All forms of cannabis, nicotine, alcohol, and other narcotics are illegal for minors. Please speak to your child about the dangers of these products as well as the Kinnikinnick School District's discipline code that can suspend a student up to 10 days or expel for up to 2 years from all public school systems if found in their possession while at school. Research shows that the fear of losing their parents’ trust and respect is the greatest deterrent to adolescent drug use. Parents are the front line of defense in protecting their teens’ developing brains from drugs and alcohol."

The product Cropp referred to, Movie Munchies 450mg, comes in many names, most of them using the trademarks of other companies without permission: Gummy Bears, Jolly Rancher Gummy Sour, Mike and Ike, M&M, Sour Patch Watermelon, Sour Skittles, Sour Smurfs, and Swedish Fish, as well as Errlli Sneaks (to avoid being sued by Trolli) and SweetTerp Rope Bites (to avoid being sued by SweetTarts). The actual manufacturers of Movie Munchies 450mg don't seem to be promoting themselves much, though candy lawyers defending the pirated trademarks might like to get in touch with them. Marijuana edibles companies have been sued before over candy names that merely resembled the trademarks.

No telling how many candies there are in a bag of pirated THC-laced movie munchies, but non-pirated Skittles come in a 3.5-ounce (99 gm) box- about 100 Skittles. So a typical adult recreational user might eat two "Skittles" to get high (or to "experience cognitive impairment and perception as well as euphoria," in the words of one Arizona cannabis dispensary.) A user review of Movie Munchies 450mg says (sic), "if youre a newbie just eat half of one because theyre pretty strong."

However, when given the choice, has any middle schooler ever eaten half a piece of candy? Given the opportunity, a typical middle schooler will, logically, eat the whole box of candy. Yet one box of Movie Munchies contains 450 mg of THC, or 50 hits for a typical adult recreational user. The implications are insane.

According to that Arizona cannabis dispensary website, "The strongest edibles on the market will typically not exceed 100 mg THC. These edibles are to be used only by experienced consumers who have a high tolerance for THC, consumers battling cancer, inflammatory health disorders, or other similarly serious health conditions." High doses ingested by a middle schooler might result in "possible unpleasant side effects including paranoia, nausea, pain, and increased heart rate." Other reported effects include "impaired cognitive function," "significantly impaired coordination and perception," and less scientifically, "They turned me into a zucchini," according to a Movie Munchies customer on Reddit.

Though people don't die of cannabis overdoses as they do from opioid overdoses, emergency rooms are reporting more cases of cannabis-induced psychosis (CIP) and cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome (CHS). Though cannabis can reduce nausea in the central nervous system, it can increase nausea in the digestive system. In 2018, a 17 year old teenager died of kidney failure from dehydration, after being diagnosed with cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome (CHS).

Quoting from a second, April 27 email from Roscoe Middle School:

There is a lot of uncertainty about marijuana today. It’s legal in some states for adults. It’s legal in many states for medical use. So what’s the truth here? Today’s pot is not the pot of the 70s; it’s much, much stronger and can derail healthy brain development. In the teen brain, marijuana’s active ingredient disrupts the way critical neural pathways form. We see the result of that disruption in many studies that show marijuana interferes with attention, motivation, memory, and learning. Students who use marijuana regularly tend to get lower grades and are more likely to drop out of high school than those who don’t use. Those who use it regularly – estimated to be at least 6.5% of teens – may be functioning at a reduced intellectual level most or all of the time. [Nicotine has similar effects on developing brains.]

Links: Marijuana Use & Educational Outcomes and Marijuana Use & Educational Outcomes

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