Increase in Poison Center Calls Involving Children and Edibles

Increase in Poison Center Calls Involving Children and Edibles

 As the legalization of marijuana and its derivatives spreads across the US, incidents of children consuming marijuana edibles are on the rise. A recent study published in the journal Pediatrics found that between 2017 and 2019, there were 4,172 calls to regional poison control centers regarding cannabis exposure in children under the age of 9. Of these calls, approximately half were related to children consuming marijuana edibles.

 The frequency of these calls, and the percentage of them related to edibles, has been increasing over the two-year period studied. It's not surprising that the exposures were about twice as common in states where marijuana use is legal, compared to states where it is not. With the increasing availability of marijuana edibles, it's important for parents and caregivers to be aware of the risks and take necessary precautions to keep these products out of reach of children.

More calls about edibles involving younger children

The most common age group affected by marijuana edibles exposure were 3-5 years old. This is understandable as at this age, children are old enough to wander off on their own but not old enough to understand the potential dangers of consuming marijuana edibles. The study found that most of the exposures were minor, however, in 15% of cases the effects were moderate and in 1.4% of cases, the effects were severe. In rare cases, ingesting a significant amount of marijuana edibles can lead to breathing difficulties or even coma.

 One of the biggest concerns with marijuana edibles is that it is difficult to know the exact amount of cannabis present in each product and it is easy to ingest a large amount which can result in long lasting effects. It's important to note that this study only looked at calls made to poison centers and it is impossible to know how many marijuana edibles exposure incidents went unreported or unnoticed by parents or caregivers.

Safety first: Children and cannabis

To prevent children from accidentally consuming marijuana edibles, it is important to have regulations in place for labeling and child-safe packaging. In the meantime, parents and caregivers should avoid purchasing marijuana edibles that may appeal to children. If you do purchase marijuana edibles, they should be stored securely and out of reach of children at all times. When visiting friends or family with children, it may be helpful to inquire about potential safety hazards such as marijuana edibles.

 This can be done by asking if there are any items that may be dangerous for children to access. This conversation may be awkward, but it is important for the safety of children. By making it a routine conversation, it will become less awkward over time. It's worth a bit of awkwardness to keep children safe.

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