'Relaxation brownies' can bring plenty of worries
TUCSON, AZ (KOLD) - In the ever-evolving world of self-medication and experimentation, the latest craze is called Lazy Cakes.
Touted as the world's first relaxation brownie, they're 100 percent legal - and could be sitting on the shelves of a gas station or smoke shop near you.
"I love them," says Tucson resident Richard Campas. "I've actually tried those before, they're really good. Just helps you relax, makes you sleep better."
What makes Lazy Cakes work is a secret ingredient known as melatonin: a chemical that occurs naturally in the body and is also a common sleep aid.
But some say, too much of anything can be dangerous.
"What I've experienced is that you have to do it a certain way or else you can really get messed up from it," says Sophia Munoz, an 18-year-old Tucson woman. "It's not something I'd recommend."
Especially for small children.
"He was just acting all funny. He wouldn't play no more or nothing."
Kameron Cummings is talking about his 2-year-old nephew Michael - and what happened to him, after taking a few bites out of a Lazy Cake.
"I just gave him a little piece because he wanted some so I just cut him off a little piece," Cummings said.
The little boy had to be hospitalized, but would eventually be OK.
Health professionals say it's the kind of red flag every parent needs to be aware of.
"What we've seen with the kids is that they go to sleep and sometimes adults have a lot of trouble waking them up," says Dr. Ann Payne of Baptist Memorial Health Care.
"Sometimes the kids have to be take to the emergency room and even in the emergency room, there's no way to wake them," Dr. Payne said.
To date, the Pima County Health Department has received no complaints about Lazy Cakes.
According to the company that makes Lazy Cakes, "The product is clearly marked as being intended for adults only. We trust they will make educated decisions about what they choose to consume."
Still, there's no law prohibiting kids from buying Lazy Cakes. And the problem with that, some say,
"Kids just want to try everything. The wanna fit in," Sophia Munoz says.
"Personal responsibility is what it really comes down to," said Jaro Gerasimenko, who's worked at Head West Smoke Shop on North Campbell for two years.
He's seen a lot of gimmicks when it comes to packaging and marketing certain products. But Gerasimenko says Lazy Cakes does exactly what it says it will do.
"What it does is it helps you relax at the end of the day, chill out," he says.
As with any sleep aid, those using Lazy Cakes shouldn't drive or operate heavy equipment nor should the product be mixed with alcohol.
And when it comes to minors, Gerasimenko says Head West doesn't do business with anyone under 18.
"That kind of helps out with responsibility as well," he says. "Once its in the hands of an adult, what they do with it is their responsibility."
Again, the key ingredient in these products is melatonin, which is a naturally occurring hormone.
However, in 2009, melatonin prompted more calls to national poison centers than any other herb or supplement.
Good news, nobody died in those 5,000 incidents.
But many of them did result in medical complications, particularly in small children.
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