Cannabis-infused soda has sparked outrage in California with critics worried they may end up in children’s hands.
The Seven Cities Beverage Company claims their product, called California Dreamin’, is simply fruit juice, carbonation and the right amount of THC – the chemical compound in cannabis – to get people mildly high, not ‘Cheech and Chonged.’
This comes shortly California legalized the recreational use of marijuana earlier this year, following months of debate including fears that it may make it easier for children to accidentally take the drug.
The new product has been slammed as the exact type of thing health professionals feared:the pot-containing drink could be mistaken for a regular bottle of soda.
A California-based launched a cannabis -infused soda in an effort to provide an alternative to alcohol
Jennifer Jordan, whose company Diamond Bonsai, was one of the first to carry California Dreamin’, said one drink, which can be ordered online or sold at shops licensed to sell cannabis, contains less THC than a joint.
‘A lot of the drinks that are on the market are 100 milligrams and for people who smoke or who are used to THC,’ said Jordan. ‘It’s not only natural and has a delicious flavor, but it’s 10 milligrams, so it’s a low-dose. It’s not intimidating to anyone, so you can casually drink it.’
Manufacturers of the drink are marketing it as an alternative to alcoholic drinks.
Dr Noemi Spinazzi, pediatrician at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland, said the design of the cannabis-containing drinks may even attract children.
‘It makes me worried that products that look so enticing can be so easily available in someone’s home,’ she told CBS San Francisco. ‘They may not recognize the difference in the flavor and drinking as much or as little as they feel like drinking.’
Furthermore, Dr Spinazzi said past research has proven that marijuana could negatively impact a child’s developing brain.
However, research on the impact marijuana may have on the developing brain are mixed.
A 2012 study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found extensive marijuana use as a teenager could lead to cognitive decline.
While another 2015 study conducted by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center found smoking marijuana in adolescence was not related to physical or mental health issues in adulthood.
Although California Dreamin’ is marketed to adults, Dr Spinazzi said children can still get their hands on it.
‘Truly, we do see children in our emergency room come in with marijuana intoxication, typically because they got their hands on products that were left unsupervised,’ she said.
Jordan said she understands the concern, adding that there are packaging and labeling requirements to ensure that the products are childproof.
Recreational marijuana use is legalized in eight US states – Maine, California, Colorado, Alaska, Nevada, Washington and Oregon.
In Colorado, people could buy weed-infused waffles, cotton candy and extra virgin olive oil.
States where marijuana is legalized for medical use include California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota, Michigan, Illinois, Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Arizona, Florida, Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Vermont.