Parents have been warned about cannabis foods that are said to look identical to children's sweets. They are said to be 50 times stronger than a joint after 13 school girls were hospitalized.
Metropolitan Police detectives are trying to track down the source of the "candy" after girls at La Sainte Union Catholic school in Highgate, Camden, became unwell on Monday morning after they were taken.
The Met confirmed that the candy was high in THC – the active component in cannabis – and it is now believed that the drug was designed to look like Nerds Rope candy that is available online.
Parents were warned about these "super potent" foods (left), which supposedly contain 600 mg of THC, the active ingredient in cannabis, because they are supposed to look like real children's candy (right).
The London Ambulance Service told MailOnline that they had been called on Monday morning about reports of an incident at the Catholic school and that several ambulances were discovered on site
Are cannabis foods legal to buy in the UK?
In the UK, cannabis is classified as a Class B drug.
If you are caught using or in possession of cannabis it is just as serious as amphetamine catching and is punishable by up to five years in prison.
However, there are different parts of the cannabis plant, which means that some cannabis products are legal in the UK.
While marijuana – which can contain up to 30% THC – is strictly illegal, hemp can be grown under license as it contains less than 0.3% THC.
CBD (cannabidiol) oil is approved for use and sale in the UK without a prescription as long as it is sold to the public, not sold as a medicinal product, and contains no more than 0.01% THC.
Cannabis oil, which differs from CBD oil because it contains THC – the compound that gives users "high" value – is illegal under UK law.
Since the nerds Rope Bites claim to have "super potent" levels of THC in them, buying and selling in the UK would be considered illegal.
The medical & # 39; Nerds Rope Bites & # 39; come in brightly colored packaging, which implies that they are aimed at children, but are actually high in THC.
The package says they contain 600 mg of the psychoactive chemical and have an activation time of 60 minutes.
According to scientific studies, an average joint contains around 12 mg of THC.
This is part of an increasing trend as teens buy groceries from online retailers for just £ 42, according to research.
They can be bought in different colors and active ingredients and are easy to confuse with regular nerd candy.
Paramedics arrived at La Sainte Union Catholic school in Highgate, Camden, Monday morning, claiming the students got sick after eating candy on their morning break.
Some of the girls are said to have spent the night in a hospital in Barnet. The school asked parents to get a "written explanation" of how the drug-laced candy was brought to the school.
The girls are believed to have gone back to class where they felt dizzy while some vomited.
The pictures showed a number of ambulances and first aid vehicles parked in front of the main building across from Hampstead Heath.
A witness told MailOnline they saw "girls crying and vomiting" in front of the ambulance.
In a letter from MailOnline, school principal Sophie Fegan wrote: “We are working with the police to determine the origin of the“ sweets ”.
“As soon as your daughter has recovered, she must tell us how she got the 'candy' and what she thought she was.
Camden police are running tests to see how much THC has been put in each of the candies
Sweet but dangerous
Cannabis infused candy has become the latest trend among teenagers. Authorities warn parents that due to their strength and excessive consumption, they pose a serious threat.
Known as "Edibles", they are freely available on the Internet for around £ 20 for a pack of 30.
However, street vendors sell individual candy for as little as £ 1 apiece, which is a surge in popularity with high school students, especially in London and other urban areas.
The “foods” are attractively packaged and designed in such a way that they appeal to young people and make it difficult to distinguish them from normal sweets.
A London school girl told MailOnline: “All children take her with you, during and outside of school. They are easy to get and very cheap, especially if you can get them from the dealers. When you buy them on the internet, they will be delivered to your home. & # 39;
The "candies" come in various strengths of THC – the active component in cannabis, which ranges from 75 mg to 300 mg, and can cause vomiting and other side effects.
However, concerns have been expressed that not all packages contain sufficient information about their strength and simply state "cannabis infused".
Some of the "candies" market themselves as health treatments, with a UK website claiming, "Eating marijuana is better for long-lasting pain cramps and related illnesses."
Among the "edibles" it lists are: gummy bears; Cherry drop; Watermelon rings and peach rings. THC laced fruit syrup is also available. Everything in a stylized, colorful packaging.
While it is illegal in the UK to sell items containing THC for recreational purposes, it is legal on medical grounds and offers a dangerous loophole that many youth and traders are exploiting.
Earlier this year police warned children not to eat watermelon-flavored candy laced with cannabis.
They warned that the cartoon-covered stoner patch packs did not contain any details about how strong the "candy" are and whether or not they are legal.
Lauren Green, PC in North Yorkshire, said, “We want parents and carers to understand that more and more young people are in possession of drug-infused candy known as 'groceries'.
“You can look very similar to familiar sweets like Haribo, Smarties, and candy bars. Illicit drugs such as cannabis and MDMA can be added to food.
"Unregulated sweets like these are dangerous because we don't know what amounts of drugs they contain."
“I'm sure you will ask her these questions too: It would be very helpful if you asked your daughter to prepare a written statement for me.
"We already know the name of the student who brought the candy, but we need to know more about how and why they were shared."
The students were treated at the scene for a "sugar rush" and taken to hospital, but police said none were classified as "seriously ill."
Yesterday, a parent told MailOnline that it was suspected that the girls had ingested THC-laced gummy bears.
Jan, who refused to give her last name, said, “We heard that they ate too many gummy bears and then felt sick when they went to class.
The teacher worried because one of the girls vomited and the others felt they were doing it.
"We're still waiting to hear the full story from school, but it is very worrying that this type of behavior occurs during school hours."
Meanwhile, Annie, another parent, said, “The whole school is talking about these gummy bears, but I've also heard other types of cannabis candy were eaten.
“My daughter told me this isn't the first time girls have had these sweets in school, but nothing like this has ever happened.
"These candies are very strong, and the girls ate around four or five each, which is way too much and can knock you out."
A warning was issued to parents in August after North Yorkshire police searched properties in Harrogate and found large supplies of food, as well as guns, drugs, money, phones and cash.
The move was part of Operation Needle, which plans to break up merchants in the upscale town half an hour north of Leeds.
Meanwhile, Bradford officials confiscated a huge stash of nerds candy that was also filled with cannabis.
And in July a young girl was hospitalized in Castleford, near Wakefield, after eating amphetamine-infused Nerds Rope.
This morning the La Sainte Union Catholic school issued a statement that the students had recovered.
It read: "We are relieved that the students who were admitted to the hospital on Monday are now fine – thank you to everyone who has been helpful and supportive."
Shocked father Nsimba, 55, whose daughter is attending school, said everyone panicked when the news broke yesterday morning.
Nsimba, a business student, told The Sun Online, “It is very sad and this incident worries me.
“But now the students know that these things are not good for them. You have to avoid it. & # 39;
But Nsimba from the Democratic Republic of the Congo said he was satisfied with the school's response, adding, “It's a very good school. They take good care of the children.
"Every time something happens, they immediately communicate with the parents."
La Sainte Union, with 1,032 students between the ages of 11 and 18, was rated "good" in an Ofsted report from 2019.
La Sainte Union School pictured has sent letters to parents asking for written explanations from students explaining how the THC-laced candy got onto the school grounds
The 159-year-old school has the singer Tulisa and the Harry Potter actress Imelda Staunton among its alumni.
Alison Keating, London Head of Alcohol, Drugs and Tobacco in England, told Ham and High: “We were informed of a situation in Camden where a number of students ingested tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, which is the psychoactive element of cannabis that creates a high.
"It is an illegal drug and can be dangerous, so this situation is worrying."
Today, the nearby Camden School for Girls warned students about the psychoactive candy packaged as nerds. Headmistress Elizabeth Kitcatt briefed parents on symptoms such as nausea, hyperactivity, increased heart rate, and hallucinations.
Mrs. Kitcatt wrote: “We made the students aware of this matter and the dangers of consuming such products.
"Please let us know if you see or hear these items circulating among students, and of course your child can take them away immediately," says Ham and High.
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