Your Child Might Be Accidentally Consuming Marijuana Edibles At Home

A new study released on Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2023, found that more young children had recently unintentionally taken a food item laced with marijuana at home.

According to the study released in the journal Pediatrics, “there has been a steady increase in pediatric edible cannabis exposures over the past five years, with the potential for severe harm.”

The report added, “This gives a critical opportunity for education and prevention, and it is crucial for physicians to be aware of this in their practice.”

Drs. Marit S. Tweet, Antonia Nemanich, and Michael Wahl served as the study’s principal investigators. It was named “Pediatric Edible Cannabis Exposures and Acute Toxicity: 2017–2021.”

The researchers found that there were more than 7,000 instances of children under the age of six consuming a marijuana-laced item between 2017 and 2021.

Many foods laced with marijuana look and taste like candy, cookies, and chocolates. According to analysts, the nation’s poison control centers received reports of these occurrences.

According to the study, there were 207 instances in 2017 and 3,054 cases in 2021, an increase of 1,375%.

More than half of the kids in the reports were between the ages of two and three. According to experts, marijuana edibles were ingested 90% of the time in the child’s own house and 97% of the time in a home.

According to the study’s video abstract, the number of jurisdictions that have made marijuana use legal for medical or recreational purposes coincided with a rise in the number of young children who consumed marijuana treats.

Dr. Marit S. Tweet stated in the video that “cannabis use has grown increasingly legalized throughout the United States over the past few years.”

Along with the District of Columbia, 30 states approved medical marijuana in 2017. The movie demonstrated that marijuana usage for recreational purposes was legal for adults in eight states plus the District of Columbia.

By May 2022, 18 states plus the District of Columbia allowed adults to use marijuana recreationally, bringing the total number of states allowing the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes to 39.

Gummies, chocolates, and cookies are among the many THC-containing goods that “resemble delights that may easily be misinterpreted by a child as just another snack,” according to Dr. Tweet in the video.

The study discovered that during the five years, the percentage of poison control reports involving marijuana ingestion increased.

Only 0.2% of 1,000 submissions to the National Poison Data System (NPDS) in 2017 were about marijuana use by children under six.

3.6 out of every 1,000 reports to the NPDS in 2021 were regarding children using marijuana.

The study’s researchers determined the outcome in slightly under 5,000 of the 7,000 confirmed cases of children using marijuana.

According to the study, approximately 600 kids, roughly 8% of the total, were admitted to intensive care units. The most common reason for these admissions was CNS (central nervous system) depression.

More than a third of patients were examined in emergency departments, whereas only about 15% were admitted to non-critical care facilities.

CNS depression, tachycardia, vomiting, ataxia (reduced coordination), and agitation were the most prevalent symptoms.

According to the study, one of the reasons marijuana edibles have such a negative effect on children is that they may unintentionally take more than the advised amount.

The smaller physical size of a youngster may also be a factor. “One chocolate bar, for instance, can have several portions, each of which has 10 milligrams of THC. A child wouldn’t understand the need to quit after just one bite, segment, or piece, “the study claimed.

Children are at risk for increased toxicity from these exposures because they weigh less than adults and therefore require a larger milligram/kilogram dose.

Dr. Tweet urged parents to be more watchful and advocated for new rules to restrict children’s access to and appeal toward marijuana edibles.

“People don’t think of [the edibles] in the same manner as home chemicals or other things a youngster could get into when [they are] in a candy or cookie shape,” said Dr. Tweet. “However, people should truly consider [this] as medicine.”

The Centers for Disease Control advises users of marijuana products to “keep them in childproof containers and out of the reach of children and pets” (CDC).

The CDC advises contacting a doctor, a health department, or a local or regional poison control center if THC-laced food items are mistakenly consumed.

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