Poison control centers report a sharp increase in calls about children eating marijuana-infused chocolates, gummies, and brownies. This is happening especially in states where recreational marijuana use has been legalized. Many of the children are as young as four or five years of age and don’t know what they’re consuming. So, what do parents who use legalized marijuana need to know about the dangers of children and edible THC products?
Signs That a Child has Consumed Edible THC Products
Young children under the age of 12 are highly susceptible to the effects of THC because of their size and weight. The doses are for adults, so it will have a stronger and more prolonged effect on a small child.
When a child consumes edible THC products, the symptoms may take a while to manifest. Some of the most common signs are lethargy, difficulty breathing, poor coordination, and unresponsiveness. The onset of symptoms can take from one to four hours and can last for several hours.
A visit to the ER ensures that the child is not in danger from an overdose. Medical professionals monitor the child until the effects of the drug subside. In some cases, children remain hospitalized due to severe symptoms.
How Widespread is the Problem of Children Consuming Edible Marijuana?
As of May 2020, the recreational use of marijuana is legal in 12 states and decriminalized in 26 states. Also, medicinal use is legal in 34 states. No doubt, the potential for marijuana getting into the hands of children increases with each new addition to this list.
The problem of children consuming edible marijuana has increased tenfold in states where recreational use of marijuana is legal. In Michigan, for instance, calls to 911 increased from 6 in 2017 to 59 this year. In Maine,19 calls have been made so far this year, which is a 160 percent increase from 2016. Colorado reports that twice as many kids came to the ER to be treated for THC ingestion since recreational marijuana became legal. Other states are reporting similar trends.
Overall, in the United States, children’s exposure to marijuana products rose 147.5 percent. However, in states where medical marijuana is legal, the figure jumped to 610 percent.
What’s Being Done to Protect Children?
State marijuana regulators require states to package the products in childproof containers. But, many people say more oversight is needed. Jeremy Unruh, a spokesperson for Pharmacann, LLC has this to say about the problem:
“I don’t think anybody is more out in front of this than the cannabis industry right now,” Unruh said. “We agree that rules, regulations, and protocols should be robust enough to discourage or remove the opportunity for minors to unintentionally ingest these products.”
Unruh suggests that parents keep edible THC products locked up and far out of reach of kids. Also, it is crucial that the products remain in the original, childproof packaging.
Many instances of children taking the edibles to school and sharing with classmates were reported. Children need to be warned about the dangers of accepting candy, brownies, or cookies from anyone other than trusted individuals.
Are You Struggling to Control Your Marijuana Use?
If you are struggling to limit or stop your marijuana use, contact us at Awakenings Rehabilitation today. Our multi-modality approach to addiction treatment will help you enjoy a drug-free lifestyle that lasts.
disa.com– Map of Marijuana Legality by State
boston25news.com– Framingham middle-schooler hospitalized after eating marijuana edible on school bus
childrenscolorado.org – Acute Marijuana Intoxication
justthinktwice.gov – Drug Alert: Marijuana Edibles