CannTrends

Halloween Edibles Insights & Analysis

Halloween Candy, Edibles & Teenagers

Halloween is sparking debate across the US as we grapple with the Covid crisis. Should the holiday be canceled? Is there a way to properly mask up and social distance, and still trick-or-treat? We’ll leave the conclusions there to scientists and medical experts, with the understanding that some families will be participating no matter what, while others will be sitting this year out.

While Halloween 2020 is a different beast, the holiday is no stranger to debate, urban myths, and elevated paranoia (along with spiked blood sugar). We’ve all heard whispers of razor blades hidden in candy. Necco wafers dropped with LSD. And gummies infused with cannabis...

Many legends surround Halloween night, and although some are rooted in truth and history, others most certainly are not.

In this CBS News in a statement, a representative for the Johnstown PD in Pennsylvania (a legal medical cannabis state) warned citizens that "drug-laced edibles are packaged like regular candy and may be hard to distinguish from the real candy." 

Around Halloween every year, like clockwork, we see an influx in statements like this. Articles and warnings from health officials and police caution people against the dangers of Candies and  Edibles for children. Media reports often run with these stories for their sensational value, without much regard for fact.

When we take a step back and look at real data, we find that these claims are almost always unfounded.

In reality, the chances of a child consuming marijuana edibles by accident is actually quite slim, according to a report by the American Association of Poison Control Centers.

As the movement to destigmatize cannabis gains traction, these stories are a way for anti-cannabis activists to slow that movement and demonize cannabis in the eyes of the general population, especially among parents. Halloween provides the perfect opportunity to spin up the fear meter around cannabis edibles, and couple those stories with unfounded claims about cannabis as a gateway drug, increased teen use, and marijuana’s effect on young people. 

This anti-cannabis legalization propaganda can be very effective, even when hard facts debunk the claims.

 

According to data found by the national and state Youth Risk Behavior Surveys (1993-2017), Marijuana use amongst teens has not increased in states that have passed medical or recreational marijuana laws in the past 25 years. 

In fact, this study finds that legalization and regulation may make it more difficult for teens to obtain cannabis. These surveys draw data from states that have legalized marijuana for recreational or medical use and evaluate the likelihood of marijuana use in the past 30 days among high school students. 

The studies use collective data from twenty-seven states where medical marijuana is legal and seven states where recreational marijuana has been legalized, and look at usage data over a period of 25 years.

The study found that recreational marijuana laws are associated with an 8% decrease in the possibility of teens trying marijuana and a 9% reduction in the odds of frequent marijuana use. 

Edibles and candies like gummies, cookies, brownies, and chocolates are increasingly popular ways of consuming marijuana, but not necessarily among underage users. 

Final Insights:

Concern and vigilance are part of being a parent, and one should always make efforts to ensure safety. However, the hysteria around cannabis edibles making their way into children's’ Halloween candy is overblown.

Marijuana consumption among teenagers has actually decreased in the wake of legalization. By regulating cannabis, underage usage has gone down, as dispensaries, who stock safer, lab-tested, regulated products, only sell to customers of a legal age.

Related Articles:

Article #1.  Recreational marijuana legalization tied to decline in teens using pot, study says: 

This article takes a deep dive into the medical journals that analyzed marijuana usage among teens. They do a thorough comparative analysis based on timelines and legalization period (for adult recreational use) of specific states and the direct correlation to cannabis usage amongst teens.

Article #2.  Police urge parents to check Halloween candy after THC-laced "Nerds Rope" edibles found:

This article is a report done by CBS News on the case of "weed Nerd Ropes" found while law enforcement was fulfilling a search warrant and issuing warnings to caregivers to be on the lookout for drug-laced edibles. But the case has seemingly no connection to Halloween as the candy was discovered during a fulfilling a search warrant, and found"counterfeit" candy amongst other things. The only link is candy and Halloween, and that candy is "being made" to "look like Halloween candy."

Article #3.  It's unlikely your kid will bring home marijuana edibles in their Halloween candy bucket:

This article takes a different approach to the matter and asks people about such a situation's likeliness of children receiving THC or CBD Candy on Halloween. The responses were solicited from citizens who are active in the cannabis consumer space.