Parents and caregivers who use marijuana products that can be eaten should make sure children can’t get at them.
Recreational marijuana products that can be eaten are called edibles. They may look like foods children eat, such as brownies, cookies, gummy candies, lollipops, cupcakes and chocolate bars. The products usually are sold in a package with more than one serving. Edibles can contain a high concentration of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.
Studies show the number of children going to the emergency room for exposure to marijuana has increased since edible products started becoming legal. Calls to Poison Control Centers about children who have eaten marijuana products also are rising.
Colorado legalized recreational marijuana in 2012. Since then, recreational marijuana use has become legal in 17 other states, Washington, D.C., and Guam. More states are likely to consider laws regarding marijuana this year.
Children who eat edibles may have the following symptoms: intoxication, anxiety, panic, paranoia, dizziness, weakness, slurred speech, poor coordination and heart problems, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
The AAP recommends parents and caregivers who have marijuana edibles take the following steps to keep children safe:
- Store edibles out of children’s reach or in locked locations, in child-resistant packaging or containers. Clearly label marijuana edibles, and store them in their original packaging.
- Never eat marijuana edibles in front of children.
- Always put marijuana edibles back into the child-resistant packaging and an out-of-reach location immediately after using them.
- Ask anyone whose home your child spends time in if they use marijuana edibles. If they do, make sure they store edibles safely and do not use them in front of your child or while watching them.
- If your child eats marijuana by accident, call the poison control hotline at 1-800-222-1222 as soon as possible. If symptoms seem severe, call 911 or go to an emergency room right away.
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