The amount of children inadvertently consuming edibles (candy or baked goods consisting of THC, the chemical in cannabis that causes a high) is definitely on the rise at an alarming rate. And they’re ending up sick, in the emergency room, or even dying.
Per a study published in Pediatrics, the number of children 5 years old and under consuming THC edibles rose from 207 in 2017 to 3,054 in 2021. This is a whopping 1,375% increase.
An ER doctor is warning parents about the dangers of keeping edibles around the home and shares that she’s seen a recent uptick in pediatric patients coming in, including a 4-year-old boy who was brought to the emergency room unresponsive.
Dr. Meghan Martin shared on her TikTok @beachgem10 that the family was visiting from out of town and were staying at an Airbnb in Florida. Martin said that the parents told her that their 4-year-old son was left with their 17-year-old son while they went shopping.
In the video, Martin said that the big brother fed the little brother a McDonald’s hamburger and a chocolate bar for dessert, and put him to bed around noon. “The family gets home at five o’clock and this kid is out cold. They cannot wake him up,” she said.
Martin said she recognized the signs of cannabis poisoning and assumed the boy had ingested a marijuana product. She said after the boy’s labs and CT scans were normal, she called for a urine drug test, which of course was positive for THC.
When Martin asked the family about the chocolate bar, the teen admitted he found it underneath a bed in the Airbnb.
Most packaging for edibles are incredibly close to a normal piece of candy and the packaging is poorly labeled, Martin told TODAY.com in an interview.
Martin said the bar contained 500 milligrams of THC and he had eaten three-fourths of it, so he was “Sufficiently wasted. Totally stoned.”
In the article, Martin shared the most common signs of cannabis poisoning in children, which include balance issues, vomiting and excessive sleepiness. She noted in the article that the effects of an edible can last up to 12 hours.
And that’s not even in the worst cases. Martin told TODAY.com, “Infants and toddlers are at risk for developing a breathing disorder called respiratory depression, which can cause brain injury and even death.”
To prevent your child or pets from ingesting these edibles, Martin suggested in the article that keeping them out of reach of children and treating them like prescription medication will help.
As Martin told TODAY.com, If you suspect your child has consumed an edible, first call Poison Control.
“There are some situations where you may be able to ride it out at home,” she said in the article. “But if your child is symptomatic, come to the emergency department immediately so we can monitor their breathing.”