Sheriff deputies are investigating after a man and two teenagers were reportedly hospitalized after consuming gummies containing THC.
On April 3, a 15-year-old boy brought two packages of THC gummies by "Dank Grasshopper" to Hickory Valley Baptist Church in Friendsville, Tennessee. Each gummy contained 450 milligrams of THC, compared to 35 milligrams found in an average joint, WBIR News reports.
The boy, who is mentally disabled, gave one package of gummies to a 24-year-old man and a 15-year-old boy, according to the Blount County Sheriff's Office. The teenager opened the gummies, but did not consume any, whereas the 24-year-old ate some and gave the rest to two teenage girls, aged 15 and 17.
Each person consumed three gummies, and all had negative reactions to the candy, including seizures, vomiting and hallucinations.
"Your short-term side effects from THC are going to include hallucinations, delusions, irritability, confusion, long-term effects could affect your mental health and cause depression and anxiety," Jessica Belitz, who deals with substance abuse prevention in Blount County, told WBIR News.
Although the adult has since been released from the hospital, the 15-year-old was in the ICU as of April 4, and the 17-year-old was still recovering as well.
"THC causes a change in behavior in a lot of people," Belitz told WATE News of the effect the substance may have on teenagers. "It impairs their brain development, it can impair their ability to learn and think in school and make good grades."
Ron Talbott, Deputy Chief of Investigation at Blount County Sheriff Office, said such events have become increasingly more common.
"We have seen it on several different occasions, this is a small example of what we’ve seen from states that have legalized marijuana that’s actually come within our jurisdiction," he said.
As the gummies are packaged in a way to appeal to children and teenagers, Talbott suggested that parents become aware of how THC edibles are marketed, according to The Daily Times.
"I think it’s more appealing to our youth, and there’s obviously access through the internet," Belitz told WBIR News.
Although the gummies were allegedly bought online, no charges are expected to be filed against the mentally disabled teenager who originally brought the THC edibles to the church, since there was no criminal intent in the purchase.