North Carolina boy, 6, in ‘excruciating pain’ after overdosing on Delta-9 THC candy mistaken for Skittles

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A six-year-old was hospitalized after he unknowingly consumed 13 times an adult dosage of THC-laced candy purchased at a North Carolina store. 

The boy’s mother, Catherine Buttereit, said she thought she was buying Skittles. But they were Delta-9 edibles — and her son consumed about 40 pieces.

“He was in excruciating pain,” Buttereit told the New York Post in an interview.

According to mom, the family was out for lunch at The Common Market in Charlotte’s South End neighborhood, a local convenience store franchise advertised as “an uncommon convenience store.” 

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Common Market store, cars in parking lot

Catherine Buttereit said that her six-year-old son spent six hours in the emergency room after he overdosed on Delta-9 edibles purchased at The Common Market in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Google Maps/Google Street View)

Buttereit said she was at the counter ready to pay for their food when her son saw what he thought were freeze-dried Skittles. 

The boy begged his mom to buy the candies, which he had learned about recently from a YouTube video

“I said, ‘Of course yeah, that looks cool. Let’s try it.’ And he handed me the bag, and I handed it to the cashier, she punched it in and we finished up the transaction,” Buttereit said.

But they weren’t Skittles — it was a bag of Delta-9 edibles distributed by The Plug Distribution. 

“I was never asked for an ID. I was never informed of what I was purchasing,” the mother told The Post. 

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THC-laced knockoff snacks and candies

While the packaging on the THC edibles includes markings indicating that the snacks and candy contained THC, North Carolina Secretary of State Elaine F. Marshall has said that these markings are deceptive and can easily be overlooked. (The North Carolina Secretary of State)

Buttereit and her son were out with her fiancé, his parents and other children in the family. Everyone tried one or two pieces of the candy and didn’t feel anything strange. 

But the six-year-old gorged himself, eating as many as 40. Soon afterward, the mother said he started to act strangely and complained that his pelvic area was burning, his chest was freezing, his head hurt and his stomach felt upset.

“But he didn’t exhibit symptoms of my child that was actually in pain. He kind of had like a smirk on his face,” Buttereit told the Post. 

The mother decided to call 911 after her son told her the water she gave him tasted “disgusting,” which she recognized as a symptom of poisoning. 

The fiancé then read the ingredients listed on the bag and discovered the candies were laced with Delta-9 THC, the chemical in cannabis and hemp plants that produces an intoxicating effect. 

“He said it’s marijuana pot and three pieces was an adult-size serving,” Buttereit said. “So by that point, he had consumed about a third of the package, which is about 30 to 40 pieces, they estimated in the hospital. So he essentially had like 13 times the dose for an adult, and he’s like a 40-pound six-year-old.”

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This Wednesday, June 1, 2016, photo shows Skittles, in New York. The Associated Press takes a look at how candy, cookie and soda makers are shaping nutrition science. Critics say industry-funded research is marketing masquerading as science, but the findings nevertheless become a part of the scientific literature. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

Buttereit and her son mistook Delta-9 edibles for freeze-dried Skittles.  (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

Her son spent six hours in the emergency room. Doctors told Buttereit that they weren’t sure what the long-term effects would be for a young child consuming so much THC.

The boy slept at the hospital for 17 hours straight before he was permitted to go home, where he slept some more, the Post reported.

“The first thing that he said when he woke up was, ‘At least it doesn’t hurt anymore,'” Buttereit said.

In recent years, North Carolina has cracked down on THC-laced products that are sold as counterfeit snack brands like Skittles, Airheads and Oreos. 

The North Carolina Secretary of State said in October that while the packaging on the edibles included markups that indicated the snacks were pot-infused, they could be deceptive and overlooked by children and teens.

Officials said that many THC-laced candy and snacks were found at vape and tobacco shops located near high schools or colleges. 

According to America’s Poison Centers, reports of cannabis edible poisonings in children 12 and under have increased nearly 700% since 2018. In 2022, there were 6,379 reports to poison control centers, compared to 816 in 2018. 

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In Buttereit’s case, the edibles her son consumed were sold under the brand name King Canna Freeze Fried Zkittlez. The package is labeled “300MG Delta 9” and has a small stamp indicating that it should only be consumed by people age 21 or older. 

A spokesman for The Common Market in Charlotte’s South End neighborhood said he personally got on the phone with Buttereit after the incident to address all of her concerns. 

“To clarify the situation, we sold the product to a person clearly over the age of 21, and the product was labeled with ‘21+’ on the outside front of the packaging as well as having a marijuana leaf. The product was then consumed off of our premises. We no longer carry or have any candies with THC in stock,” said Graham Worth. 

“Our staff is trained to educate the buyer when they are purchasing [other THC-containing products], and it is also our policy to keep these products in a fiberglass case or behind the counter for handling by our staff. We have communicated with all staff members and managers to ensure this is being done properly,” Worth added. “Further, we have enhanced our signage on these products, outside what is on the actual packaging, as an extra precaution for customers who may not see the labeling on the packaging itself.” 

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Buttereit declined to be interviewed by Fox News Digital, saying that her family has received “an enormous amount of hate, judgment and harassment” since she told her story to the media. 

“I appreciate a news team trying to bring awareness to the dangers of these drugs being marketed in the same manner as children’s candy,” she said. “This is such a serious potential danger that needs to be addressed.”

Fox Business’ Sarah Rumpf-Whitten contributed to this report.



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