Skip to Main Content
Skip Nav Destination

Pediatric Cannabis Edible Ingestions: A Dose-Based Prediction for Severe and Prolonged Exposures

September 1, 2023

With the legalization of cannabis for recreational and medicinal purposes throughout most of the US, it is not a surprise that young children more frequently encounter cannabis products in their homes or homes of friends, leading to ingestions delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive compound. A major culprit for unintentional ingestions is the edible cannabis products that look similar to non-cannabis containing foods, such as cookies, gummy bears, and other candy and baked goods. Ingesting a large amount can lead to severe toxicity characterized by cardiovascular instability, respiratory depression, seizures, and other neurologic signs and symptoms. How much THC can lead to toxicity?

Pepin et al (10.1542/peds.2023-061374) from the University of Colorado provide information about the potentially toxic amount of THC in a new study being early released in Pediatrics. The authors conducted a retrospective review of edible cannabis ingestions with known amounts of THC among 80 children under 6 years of ag. About half (46%) of these children had a severe reaction to THC and 74% had prolonged toxicity (at least 6 hours). Ingesting 1.7 mg/kg or greater of THC was the best predictor of a child experiencing severe and/or prolonged toxicity. Age and sex was not associated with toxicity.   

This study helps us anticipate when to worry about a child being at risk for serious complication of the ingestion based on how much was ingested. The study also offers suggestions in the discussion section as to how to better prevent these toxic ingestions from occurring through safer packaging of single dose servings reinforced with stricter state regulations for how much THC can be contained in an edible product. 

There is plenty of helpful information for you to digest by checking out the detailed results and thoughtful discussion that are contained in this new study. Link to it and learn more.

Close Modal

or Create an Account

Close Modal
Close Modal