AUSTIN -- Since Colorado legalized marijuana, police have seen a sharp increase in the use of edible Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in Austin.
Police report that they have seen a 50 percent to 500 percent increase in the use of edible THC, the psychoactive chemical responsible for the high produced by ingesting marijuana. Police said the THC is extracted from marijuana and put into foods like candy, soda and butter.
"It's a stronger level of THC than it is in a joint," said Lt. Pat Connor with the Austin Police Department's Organized Crime Unit.
Since THC is disguised in candy, food or drinks, police said it can be dangerous.
"It's somewhat similar to K2, where you don't know what they're actually putting in it. Are they only putting THC in it or are they putting something else?" Connor said.
The experts at The Counsel on Recovery Austin said any time there is a new drug trend, they expect a spike in calls.
"We've seen a lot of spice use. Anything with THC is synthetic, so it's more dangerous," said Mason Chambers, a recovery specialist.
Chambers said they have always seen THC use in conjunction with other drugs, but the accessibility of the edible THC worries him because it could mean young victims.
"It's definitely disheartening to know that its unknown to them they are using it. That they would be taken advantage upon. It's also disheartening to know that children are just coming across it," Chambers said.
More and more, narcotics investigators have been coming across edible THC during investigations into other controlled substance dealers. Just last week, a search warrant produced heroin, meth and 15 pounds of edible THC in the form of lollipops.