Edibles and children: Poison center calls rise
If a 3-year-old finds a cookie on the table, there’s a good chance they’ll eat it.
Even if it is made with marijuana or THC, CBD or other components of cannabis.
As more states have legalized the use of marijuana and an ever-expanding range of marijuana products, it’s no surprise that more children are being exposed – including by eating edibles to the marijuana. A research dossier published in the journal Pediatrics found that between 2017 and 2019, 4,172 calls were made to regional poison control centers regarding cannabis exposures in infants and children up to the age of 9 years. About half of the calls were for edibles.
The frequency of these calls and the percentage related to edibles increased over the two-year period. Unsurprisingly, exposures were about twice as common in states where marijuana use is legal than in those where it is not.
No more calls on edibles involving young children
The age group most often involved was children aged 3 to 5, which makes sense: this is the age at which they are old enough for parents to take their eyes off them for a minute or two, but not enough to understand why they shouldn’t eat this brownie, gummy bear or piece of chocolate.
Fortunately, the effects of these exposures were mostly minor – but in 15% they were moderate and in 1.4% they were severe. In rare cases, heavy ingestion can lead to difficulty breathing or even a coma. That’s the problem with edibles – it’s hard to know how much cannabis each contains, it’s easy to ingest a lot, and the effects can last for a long time.
It is also important to remember that this was only a study of calls to poison control centers. It is impossible to know how many exposures have never been reported, including how many have gone completely unnoticed by parents or guardians.
Safety first: children and cannabis
Clearly, it will require regulations on child-safe labeling and packaging. But right now, parents and others shouldn’t buy edibles made from marijuana that might appeal to children (just as it’s best not to buy detergent pods that look like candy). If you are purchasing marijuana edibles that a child might want to eat, they should be kept safe, out of reach, always.
When parents take their kids to see friends, it may be a good idea to add marijuana edibles to the list of safety concerns. Think of something like, “Hey, our daughter is still small and curious, so we like to ask about things like matches, guns, drugs, marijuana edibles, or whatever.” which could be dangerous for her if she enters it. . Is there anything that could be within his reach?
It can be a little inconvenient, but if you do it quickly and routinely, you can reduce the discomfort. And ultimately, it’s worth a bit of awkwardness to keep your child safe.
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The post Edibles and Kids: Increased Calls from Poison Control Centers first appeared on the Harvard Health Blog.
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