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Marijuana Edibles With Corydalis Extract Receive Liver Injury Warning

1906's Midnight line of products contained Corydalis extract, which has been connected to liver injury.
1906's Midnight line of products contained Corydalis extract, which has been connected to liver injury. Ken Hamblin III
Consumer complaints regarding liver issues led Colorado-based edibles company 1906 to pull sleepy-time products from dispensary shelves, according to a joint announcement from the Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division, the state Department of Public Health and Environment and 1906.

The announcement, released July 22, says that the product reported to have caused liver problems was 1906's Midnight Drops, cannabis-infused pills intended for sedation. It wasn't the THC or CBD in the Midnight Drops that was linked to the health issues, though, but an herbal extract called Corydalis rhizome.

According to the warning, potential side effects of Corydalis are "minimal," but can include hepatotoxicity, or injury to the liver. The risks for hepatotoxicity are higher when Corydalis is extracted, the MED and CDPHE note.

An herb associated with Chinese medicinal practices, Corydalis is not regulated by the United States Food and Drug Administration. It's used to treat pain, stomach issues and trouble sleeping, among other things, but has been linked to such liver conditions as acute hepatitis. Most people recover from the condition, research shows, but there is a risk of chronic injury, infection and even mortality in rare cases.

The MED contacted 1906 after receiving reports of customer liver issues caused by Midnight Drops, according to the warning, and is currently gathering more information on the product, its ingredients and potential health impacts. State agencies aren't recalling Midnight products, however, nor is 1906 accused of violations.

"The MED and CDPHE are not alleging any regulatory violations and are not requesting or requiring that the 1906 Midnight Drop products be removed from store shelves. The agencies are sharing this information for public and consumer awareness in the interest of public health and safety, specifically for 1906 Midnight Drops that contain the ingredient Corydalis. The agencies have not received any adverse health reports related to 1906 Midnight Drops which do not contain the Corydalis ingredient," the warning reads.

The Midnight line includes chocolates made with Corydalis, but those weren't mentioned in the state notice. According to1906 CEO Peter Barsoom, the company began remaking those with another herb good for sleep, Stephania, as of March 1.

Stephania carries a handful of potential side effects, including liver toxicity, low blood pressure, headaches and the widening of blood vessels. While those side effects are considered less common than problems with Corydalis, 1906 has added a warning to its packaging that Stephania "may cause serious health problems in rare cases and should be taken in consultation with a physician."

"What we focus on is making sure everyone is aware of what's in our products. You can go to our website and see every dosage of each ingredient right now," Barsoom says. "Consumers should always be educated about anything they put in their bodies, and it's always important to understand the risks associated with anything, cannabis or non-cannabis."

The state warning stops short of telling consumers to dispose of or return any Midnight products purchased before March 1, but recommends that any adverse health effects experienced after consuming retail marijuana products be detailed in a MED reporting form

Correction: This article was updated on July 26, to correct an error regarding 1906 product distribution. On March 1, the company began producing Midnight line items with Stephania, not Corydalis; the earlier products were not pulled off the shelves. Our apologies for the error.
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Thomas Mitchell has written about all things cannabis for Westword since 2014, covering sports, real estate and general news along the way for publications such as the Arizona Republic, Inman and Fox Sports. He's currently the cannabis editor for westword.com.
Contact: Thomas Mitchell