Two Girls Hospitalized After Accidentally Consuming Cannabis Gummies

Two Girls Hospitalized After Accidentally Consuming Cannabis Gummies
THC and CBD Gummy candies. (Shutterstock)

Hong Kong—Two young girls were hospitalized in the intensive care unit at Tuen Mun Hospital after suspected consumption of cannabis gummies and fell into a coma. On June 27, their condition was upgraded from critical to stable, and they regained consciousness. The girls’ father has been temporarily charged with “drug possession” and “child neglect or abuse.”

According to a psychiatrist, consuming cannabis gummies with high concentrations of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is similar to drug abuse. In this case, the children had a severe reaction, suggesting that the cannabis gummies they ingested may contain THC, raising concerns about potential damage to their central nervous system. Even cannabis medicines that contain purely CBD (cannabidiol) are not recommended for children.

Father and Aunt Arrested for ‘Child Neglect’

On the morning of June 26, a woman reported to the police that her two daughters, aged 2 and 4, were unwell. She took them to Tuen Mun Hospital, where initial medical examinations raised suspicions of dangerous drug ingestion. The Criminal Investigation Team of the Tuen Mun Police District subsequently took over the case.

The 25-year-old father of the two girls and their 48-year-old aunt were arrested on charges of “ill-treatment or neglect by those in charge of a child or young person.” In addition, the girls’ father is also suspected of “possessing dangerous drugs,” and the District Crime Squad of Yuen Long is handling the case.

Preliminary investigations revealed that the 48-year-old aunt allegedly fed the two girls with suspected dangerous drugs at their residence. The police are currently investigating the quantity of the dangerous substance consumed by the girls, and they suspect it to be cannabis gummies that were recklessly placed on a table.

On the evening of June 27, the police informed The Epoch Times that the 25-year-old father, surnamed Chan, had been temporarily charged with “possession of drugs” and “neglecting or ill-treating child or young person.” The case will be presented in Tuen Mun Magistrates’ Courts on June 28. The 48-year-old aunt of the girls has been granted bail pending further investigation and is required to report to the police at the end of July.

Mother of the Girls: Feeling Devastated

It is reported that the parents of the two girls are separated and awaiting divorce proceedings. The mother had previously moved out of the public housing unit in Heng Tung House, Tin Heng Estate, Tin Shui Wai, leaving the care of the two girls to their 25-year-old father.

On June 26, the girls’ mother posted on Facebook, describing her two daughters as “unconscious with dilated pupils.” She revealed that the police had informed her that the dosage the girls had ingested was “enough to overwhelm an adult.” She also mentioned that the three of them have been allocated a public housing unit and are “preparing for renovations so that they can live together. They have already chosen their beds.”

The girls’ mother said, “From birth, feeding them porridge, taking them to health clinics, and attending interviews for kindergartens, I have done everything myself. I believe that no one in this world loves their daughters more than me. Working late into the midnight, feeling devastated and exhausted, I cry while thinking about them, but I continue working. This is how I have walked through it step by step.”

She also expressed her desire for a peaceful life for herself and her daughters, questioning “why this incident happened just when they were about to reunite. Sorry. Maybe this wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t for me trying so hard to earn money. I feel so guilty and devastated.”

The father has been temporarily excused from entering a plea pending further investigation by the police, which includes testing suspected drugs, DNA, and the medical reports of the two girls.

On June 28, the girl’s mother posted on her social media platform that both sisters had regained consciousness and were “feckless and less responsive.” They can now eat and engage in normal conversation but still receive treatment in the Intensive Care Unit.

Psychiatrist: Cannabis Gummies May Contain THC

According to a specialist psychiatrist, Dr. Au Yeung Kwok-leung, “cannabis gummies” contains cannabis-related substances mixed with sugar. The two main components of cannabis are THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol). THC is a psychoactive drug with strong hallucinatory and mental effects, while CBD has milder effects.

Hong Kong used to be able to sell products containing CBD legally. However, Au Yeung stated that it is difficult to extract pure CBD without THC from natural cannabis. He described “cannabis gummies” as “poisonous candy.”

Au Yeung said the significant reaction of children in this incident suggested that the consumed “cannabis gummies” may contain high levels of THC, leading to its potent toxicity. Ingesting cannabis candy with high concentrations of THC is highly harmful and can have lasting effects.

Au Yeung further emphasized that even cannabis medicines containing purely CBD are not recommended for children. In this incident, the children exhibited severe reactions, including the possibility of poisoning, oxygen deprivation, or even coma, raising concerns about potential damage to their central nervous system.

When asked about the appropriate response if a child accidentally consumes “cannabis gummies,” Au Yeung explained that there is no antidote for THC or CBD poisoning. Unlike certain drugs, there is no specific remedy to alleviate poisoning. Medical professionals can only monitor the patient’s vital signs, and in severe cases, blood washing may be necessary.

Au Yeung also pointed out that many CBD products marketed as legal in foreign countries contain THC. Therefore, before the amendment to the law in Hong Kong, many CBD products were supposed to be illegal. after the amendment, the enforcement of the law became easier.

Pediatrician: Severe Central Nervous System Suppression Can Be Life-Threatening

Dr. Mike Kwan Yat-wah, Honorary Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Paediatrics & Adolescent Medicine at the University of Hong Kong, mentioned during a radio program that the most concerning aspect of children consuming CBD is the potential suppression of their central nervous system. This suppression can affect breathing, blood pressure, and neurocognitive control. “CBD is a sedative, and if children consume adult-sized doses, it can cause them to lose consciousness, leading to severe, life-threatening situations.”

Family Doctor: Caution with Various Medications in Daily Life

Dr. Mok Kwan-yeung, a family doctor, advised that this incident serves as a warning for everyone to be cautious with medications, “whether illicit drugs or common pharmaceuticals, accidental ingestion can lead to serious consequences. Medications should be stored in places children cannot reach them to prevent such incidents, such as high shelves or locked cabinets.”
In the case of an emergency, Mok recommended following the ABCD first aid method (Airway, Breathing, Circulation, and Differential Diagnosis): ensuring an open airway, confirming the presence of breathing and heartbeat, and placing the patient in a recovery position “lie on one side with the mouth facing the side before calling for medical assistance.”

CBD Classified as a Dangerous Drug in Hong Kong

Recently, products containing cannabidiol (CBD), a compound derived from cannabis, have gained popularity in various forms, such as candies, skincare products, and health supplements. These products claim to have multiple benefits, such as stress relief. However, some “CBD gummies” closely resemble regular candies, leading to incidents of children accidentally ingesting them, not only in foreign countries but also in Hong Kong.

The Hong Kong government amended the legislation on Feb. 1, classifying all CBD products as dangerous drugs. This includes cookies, candies, coffee, skincare products, aromatherapy, and other similar items. It is now illegal for individuals to possess or consume such products in Hong Kong.