Costa Mesa, California -
Costa Mesa, CA – Consuming marijuana in food or drinks is popular in states that have legalized the drug for recreational use. But as cannabis becomes more readily available to adults in those states, it’s also becoming a danger to young children, who are accidentally ingesting edibles at alarming rates.
Resurgence Behavioral Health, an addiction treatment center in Costa Mesa, California, urges parents to take note of this alarming situation and use extra caution if they have edibles in their homes.
In July 2021, the American Association of Poison Control Centers reported receiving almost 2,500 calls about children under 12 who accidentally consumed marijuana at home in 2020. In 2016, only 132 such cases were reported.
The Washington Post tracked cannabis poisoning cases before and after recreational marijuana was legalized. In 2010, before it was legalized anywhere, poison control centers took 19 such calls. In 2020, that number jumped to 554 cases – 29 times more.
Individual states have reported similar increases since legalization. In Colorado, for instance, cannabis-related poison cases have risen by 34 percent per year since 2014. In Massachusetts, hospital emergency rooms had only 52 cases of cannabis poisoning in 2018 but managed 257 cases in 2020.
Marijuana edibles pack a powerful high. Many users enjoy foods and drinks laced with cannabinoids, the chemical compounds found in marijuana. Popular edibles include cookies, brownies, and candy – popular treats for children, who may innocently ingest an edible if it’s left where they can easily reach it. Children ages 3-5 are at the greatest risk.
Fortunately, no deaths have been reported in children who accidentally ingest edibles. But they can suffer side effects ranging from drowsiness, agitation, and confusion, to increased heart rate, trouble breathing, and even seizures.
The severity of side effects the child experiences will depend on their physical condition and the amount they ingested. Because edibles are often packaged for several adults to use, a child can consume a very high dose if they eat an entire cookie or candy.
If a child accidentally eats a marijuana edible, the first thing to do is to remain calm and assess the situation for poison control staff. Determine the kind of edible they ate, how much they consumed, when they ingested it, and any warnings on the label.
If the child has no symptoms, don’t assume they’re OK; call the local poison control center immediately. The body takes longer to experience the effects of marijuana when it’s eaten rather than smoked; so the child’s symptoms may not appear for 90 minutes or more.
If the child does show symptoms, such as drowsiness, trouble breathing, or seizures, call 911 immediately.
The potentially devastating effects of accidental consumption mean it’s essential to take extra steps to keep edibles away from children. Treat them like a toxic substance or prescription medication.
Anyone with edibles in the home should store them somewhere inaccessible to children. Don’t let children know where edibles are kept, and be sure to keep edibles out of reach. Children have excellent hunting skills when it comes to treats like candy and cookies, so it's a good idea to lock up the edibles and hold the key. Be sure friends and family members who use edibles take the same precautions in their homes. Readers should also see a previous release, the rise of edibles being delivered to houses from marijuana delivery services.
None of these precautions guarantees a child will never consume marijuana accidentally. Continuing to consume it may be modeling behavior that kids will one day copy intentionally. For anyone concerned about their use of marijuana, other drugs, or alcohol, visit Resurgence Behavioral Health online or call (855) 458-0050 to learn how they can help.
SOURCE: Press Advantage [Link]
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