The Health Service Executive (HSE) of Ireland has issued a warning about synthetic cannabinoids appearing in gummies and candies guised as Tetrahydrocannbinol (THC) edibles.

According to HSE’s National Social Inclusion Office (NSIO), a small number of hospitalizations occurred following the consumption of counterfeit Jolly Rancher gummies during December 2022 in Ireland’s Tipperary Region. Upon analysis from Forensic Science Ireland, the offending edible products were found to contain synthetic cannabinoids. Synthetic cannabinoids have been associated with poisonings and fatalities internationally in recent years, according to NSIO.

Synthetic cannabinoids are manmade chemicals produced to mimic the effects of THC, the main psychoactive compound in Cannabis. Instead of THC, some products contain a synthetic cannabinoid which will produce similar, more potent effects. Such synthetic cannabinoids may greatly increase the risks of a drug emergency as they produce more intense adverse effects than THC.

Additionally, NSIO states that the potency of counterfeit edible products available on the market cannot be guaranteed. A number of such products that were recently seized and analyzed by Forensic Science Ireland and have been found to contain new and risky synthetic cannabinoids exclusively, and not any THC as was indicted on the packaging.