Number of young children accidently eating cannabis edibles jumps more than 1,300% in 5 years, study says

A new study says the number of children accidentally eating cannabis edibles is growing.
Published: Jan. 4, 2023 at 5:14 PM CST
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HERRIN, Ill. (KFVS) - It’s a growing issue as more states legalize recreational marijuana, the number of young children accidentally consuming cannabis edibles.

On Wednesday, January 4, we spoke with Antonia Nemanich, an assistant professor of emergency medicine and toxicology at Rush University Medical Center. She is part of a recent study that highlights the spike in young children consuming cannabis.

“In 2017 to 2021 and we looked at basically the reported incidence of cannabis edible ingestion in children 5 and younger. And we found that it is really skyrocketing over those years,” Nemanich said.

In fact, reports of children ingesting edible cannabis are up more than 1,300 percent during that 4-year time frame, according to Nemanich.

Many edibles come in the form of candies, cookies, brownies and chocolates, products that can appeal to toddlers. However, Nemanich said the packaging is what should change.

“So, I think selling these as something that’s not interesting to children that doesn’t look like a regular candy or regular cookie, so that would be opaque packaging, not some enticing picture of fruits or gummy bears on the package that will have a very significant effect,” Nemanich added.

According to the National Poison Data System, from 2017 to 2021 there were more than 7,000 exposures to cannabis edibles among children 6 and under.

Nemanich shared some signs you should pay attention to if you believe your child consumed an edible cannabis.

“The ones that are the most common are the neurological effects. So they’re usually very difficult to wake up, they’re kind of just starring if they are awake, the seek very confused, they’re often not able to walk steadily and they often have cardiovascular effects,” Nemanich explained.

She said there is still a lack of date to really know the long term effects, but she said you should keep cannabis products out of the reach of children.

“Make sure that they’re locked up when you’re not using them, put them away right after you use, don’t leave them out on the counter even for a couple minutes. ‘Cause that’s enough for a kid to grab a gummy and eat it,” she said.

So, what do you do if you believe a child has consumed a product containing THC?

According to Web-MD, call the poison control center immediately.

Even if they aren’t showing any symptoms, it might take some time for effects to show up.

Next, try to identify what kind of edible they ate and how much.

While no overdose deaths have been reported in children due to edibles, intoxication can be very frightening for them.

If your child has symptoms like slowed breathing or seizures call 911.