Number of young children eating marijuana edibles skyrocket

Edible cannabis products are displayed at Essence Vegas Cannabis Dispensary before the midnight start of recreational marijuana sales on June 30, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada
Edible cannabis products are displayed at Essence Vegas Cannabis Dispensary before the midnight start of recreational marijuana sales on June 30, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada

OAN Roy Francis
UPDATED 2:49 PM PT – Tuesday, January 3, 2023

More young children are getting sick from unintentionally eating marijuana edibles than ever before, according to a study published in journal Pediatrics on Tuesday.

The study showed that calls to poison control due to kids 5 and under consuming edibles containing THC rose from 207 in 2017 to 3,054 in 2021. That is a record 1,375% increase over the span of four years.

According to the study, 97% of children had found and consumed the edibles at home. The findings were based on more than 7,000 pediatric cases reported in the National Poison Data System.

Dr. Antonia Nemanich, an assistant professor of Emergency Medicine and Toxicology at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, looked into the study. She said that this is a result of a combination of both more states legalizing recreational marijuana, and the Coronavirus pandemic, which resulted in more children staying at home with their parents.

Since edibles are usually packaged like sweets and candies, children unclear on what it is they are actually consuming, usually eat several at a time.

Over half the reported cases concerned 2-and 3-year-olds. Eating too much of these products can cause serious health problems for young children. These can include confusion, hallucinations, fast heart rate, and vomiting. In severe cases children can have trouble breathing and even comas can occur.

Nearly a quarter of the reported cases had been admitted to the hospital with a little over 8% of which had needed intensive care.

According Dr. Kevin Osterhoudt, the Medical Director of the Poison Control Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, manufacturers are increasing the dosage of THC in their edible products. This could lead to even more incidents where children are getting sick, and possibly worse results due to the increase of THC.

Dr. Sam Wang, an emergency medicine physician and pediatrician at Children’s Hospital Colorado Is calling on regulations of how marijuana manufacturers can advertise their products. She also says that regulations are also required to make sure that their advertising does not appeal to children.

“There’s no reason that people can’t enjoy these products,” she said. “We just want kids to be safe.”