The number of young children being poisoned by eating their parents’ pot brownies soared by 320% to record levels.
Dr. Diane Calello, executive and medical director of the New Jersey Poison Control Center at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, told DailyMail.com she’d seen a significant rise in children being exposed to cannabis in recent years.
A study in the Pediatrics journal found a significant increase in the incidences of children under age 11 accidentally consuming cannabis edibles after marijuana was legalized in the 18 states, District of Columbia, the Northern Mariana Islands, and Guam.
Calello said that every time a drug or substance was made more available, there was an increased number of poisonings, ‘and when you make that as appealing as edible cannabis…’
Calello said that the problem with edibles was that they resembled candies or treats like brownies or cakes – making them irresistible for young children. A child was also likely to eat an entire ‘candy bar’ of edibles – which would be multiple doses.
The number of young children being poisoned by eating their parents’ pot brownies soared by 320% to record levels (stock image)
She said she had seen a national and local trend of children being exposed to edibles after an increased number of states chose to legalize or decriminalize cannabis.
New Jersey voted to legalize marijuana in 2020 which saw police and residents relax their stance on the drug until it was finally signed into law in February 2021.
National incidences of cannabis edibles poisonings
CHILDREN UNDER AGE FIVE
CHILDREN AGED 6-12
‘We saw a big jump (in poisonings) in 2020,’ Calello said, adding that more people being at home and looking to soothe their anxiety during pandemic lockdowns could also have affected the figures.
The medical director of the New Jersey Poison Control also dismissed the idea that weed was harmless and the myth that someone can’t overdose on marijuana.
‘It can be dangerous for a child,’ she told us. ‘Seizures in adults are extremely rare but in children, they need much less to get very sick.’
Calello added that she had personally cared for a child who had a seizure due to a cannabis overdose and another who had to be on a ventilator.
Even mild symptoms could be extremely distressing for a young child.
In 2021, New Jersey Poison Control Center assisted in the treatment of 150 children – 99 of those under the age of five – who ate cannabis edibles.
For children under the age of five, this jumped from 73 in 2020 and just 31 cases in 2019. In the space of two years, numbers of incidents rose 320%.
Nationally, cases have been rising in recent years, from 187 cases among children 6-12 in 2016, to 370 in 2019.
But cases then skyrocketed between 2019 and 2020.
34 states and Washington D.C. have legalized marijuana in some form, including recreational use, medical use and sales
In the same age range, cases jumped by 573 from 370 to 943.
For the under five age range, cases soared from 957 in 2019 to 2119 in 2020, according to data from the American Association of Poison Control Centers.
In total, more than 3,000 children had to be treated for cannabis exposure in 2020.
‘We definitely have no shortage of children who get into parents’ marijuana products. It’s usually children 2 to 6 years old. It almost always involves edible products that are shaped like brownies or cookies or other things that children might reasonably think are good to eat,’ Dr. Eric Lavonas, toxicologist at the Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Safety in Denver, told US News.
Dr. Diane Calello, executive and medical director of the New Jersey Poison Control Center at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, told DailyMail.com that every time a drug was made more available, there were more cases of poisonings
‘The children will come in very altered and unable to communicate with their environment, often throwing up,’ he said. ‘The biggest danger is to make sure it isn’t something else and that the child doesn’t become dehydrated.’
Even in states that have not yet legalized cannabis, Americans’ attitude towards the drug, and the availability of it thanks to states that have legalized or decriminalized it means access is wider than ever.
More than 90 per cent of Americans now think that marijuana should be legal in some form with almost two-thirds saying they support legalizing both medicinal and recreational use, according to a new survey.
Less than one in ten – or 8 per cent – said marijuana should not be legal for use, according to the study done by Pew Research Center.
The poll was done after Virginia and New York took steps toward legalizing marijuana last year.
Calello recommends locking away marijuana products, and avoiding those that are packaged with cartoon figures and bright colors that might attract children.
More than 90 per cent of Americans now think that marijuana should be legal in some form with almost two-thirds saying they support legalizing both medicinal and recreational use, according to a survey
A Pew survey finds that majorities across all age groups – with the exception of those 75 and older – think that marijuana should be legal for both medicinal and recreational use
Read more at DailyMail.co.uk