SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WIVT/WBGH) — Upstate New Yorkers have been calling poison control more than ever for kids and teens who have accidentally eaten products containing marijuana, the Upstate NY Poison Center said Tuesday.
The poison center says they’ve received 64 calls about accidental edible consumption, an almost six-fold increase from 2019. They are on track to handle the highest number of cases for marijuana edibles in their 65-year history.
As marijuana products continue to become more easily accessible, Upstate NY Poison Control has issued guidelines and warnings for parents who may bring these products home.
Edible THC products often look like candy or sweets. According to the National Capital Poison Center (NCPC), teenagers and children under the age of five are the most common age groups to consume edibles left out. Kids are also more likely to eat more than what is considered a single dose for an adult, making it extra imperative to keep these products where kids can’t find them.
The NCPC said the more common side effects of a child who has consumed edibles include vomiting, dizziness, difficulty walking, a rapid heart rate, drowsiness, confusion, and breathing difficulties. These symptoms will usually only last for a few hours.
Edibles may not kick in immediately, both centers warn, and effects may not begin for up to two hours. As soon as you suspect a child has consumed an edible, it’s recommended to call poison control to get expert advice, so you can be prepared before symptoms begin.
“Because young children are likely to require medical attention after unintentional consumption of cannabis edibles, parents or caregivers should contact poison control immediately for expert advice if a child eats cannabis edibles,” the NCPC said.
In severe cases, where a child is especially small or has consumed a significant quantity, hallucinations, an abnormally slow heart rate, and low blood pressure may occur. The center cites recent data saying that children younger than 10 are more at risk for hospitalization than older children.
But regardless of how much a child or teen consumes, death or serious injury is highly unlikely.
Upstate NY Medical Center Director Dr. Vince Calleo said that the best place to store all cannabis-related products is up high and out of the reach of children. He also encouraged consumers to consider a medical lockbox. The poison control center is giving away free lockboxes for those who take their survey. More information can be found here.
If you suspect a child has consumed marijuana, he recommends calling poison control at 1-800-222-1222.