According to the Upstate NY Poison Center, cases of children exposed to cannabis edibles have increased sixfold since 2019.
In 2019, the center received just 22 calls regarding kids or teenagers under 19 years old that had consumed cannabis edibles. As of August 2022, the center has addressed 124 cases.
What’s more concerning is that cases in children under 5 years have also increased significantly. In 2019, the center addressed 7 cases involving young children, but in 2022, the center has already handled 64 cases.
The reason for the uptick is likely to be multifactorial, but experts say it could be related to product packaging that’s attractive to children and the increased availability of these products.
Dr. Vince Calleo, the medical director of the Upstate Poison Center said that “no matter the reason [for the uptick in cases], the number one concern [of our center] is the pediatric population because marijuana can have serious effects on their small bodies.”
THC-containing edible products can look similar to candy or other foods and if left unsecured may be consumed by children. Many edible products are provided in multidose packages. This means that a single package may contain more than one of what is a single dose for an adult. For example, a candy bar may be scored into ten pieces with each piece containing a 10 mg dose of THC, for a total of 100 mg THC per bar. If a child consumes a large portion or even an entire multidose candy bar, the consequences can be severe. Cannabis can cause changes in blood pressure and heart rate, extreme tiredness, trouble breathing, and in severe cases can lead to coma in young children.
The medical staff at Upstate Poison Center are urging New Yorkers to treat THC-containing edibles like other dangerous medications and keep them stored in a secure location that is out of the reach of children.
For those who keep cannabis edibles in their homes, the Upstate Poison Center is offering free medication lock boxes to help keep your edible products secure and out of the hands of any children. If you suspect a child has swallowed cannabis edibles don’t be afraid to call the Upstate Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222.
Cannabis is safe in most instances, but for kiddos as well as inexperienced or uneducated adult consumers there are serious health risks associated with over-consuming edible products. We encourage our readers to save this number in their phones in case of future emergencies and to take advantage of the Poison Center’s free lock boxes available after completing a brief survey. Scan the QR code to your right to take the survey and get a free lockbox!
This story was first reported by, Democrat & Chronicle.