THC in gummy candies sickened party-goers

San Francisco health officials say preliminary tests confirm that gummy candies that sickened 19 people at a party on Saturday, most of them minors, contained THC, the active ingredient in marijuana.

The ring-shaped, colorful candies contain THC, and tests on 12 hospitalized patients also showed the presence of the psychoactive substance, officials said today.

Officials said the incident highlights the potential dangers of edible marijuana products, which can be very potent and difficult to control the dosage.

Mayor Ed Lee said in a statement:

“This could have been a much worse situation than it was, and I’m glad that all the children that ingested the candy have recovered. … This incident underscores concerns about edible marijuana and its availability to minors.”

A total of 19 people, 10 male and nine female, were hospitalized as a result of the incident. Thirteen of those patients were 18 or younger, ranging in age from 6 to 18, and fire officials said Sunday that three minors including a 9-year-old boy were treated in intensive care units.

All of the patients had been discharged by Monday morning, health officials said. They suffered from symptoms consistent with the effects of edible cannabis including rapid heart rate, high blood pressure, dilated pupils, dizziness, light-headedness, nausea, lethargy and confusion.

The patients became sick after attending a quinceañera party at the Women’s Building at 3543 18th St. in the Mission District on Saturday.

The fire department responded to reports of people getting sick at the party at 10:22 p.m.

Officials are now working to determine where the candies came from, and have interviewed several people who attended the party to learn more about what happened.

The party was catered by a company based in Oakland, and the Alameda County Department of Public Health is also investigating.

Dr. Tomas Aragon, San Francisco’s health officer, said:

“The question remains, where did the candies come from? We are working with the catering company and our colleagues in Alameda to find out.”

The health department is also contacting those who attended the party to tell them to discard any uneaten candies they may have taken from the party. Anyone who gets sick as a result of eating one should call the California Poison Control Center for advice at 1 (800) 222-1222, or 911 if they are severely ill.