ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The Upstate New York Poison Center has seen a drastic increase so far this year in the number of calls for children who have ingested marijuana products. They said most calls have been for marijuana edibles and majority of the kids ingesting them are five years old or younger.
Data from the poison center shows calls have nearly tripled for children ingesting so called “Cannabis Candies” from January through May of this year compared to the same time last year.
Dr. Christine Stork is the clinical director at the poison center. She said these products absorb slowly, making overdose easier.
“In addition for pediatrics, many of these products are made to look and taste and smell like candy so the dose may be one gummy for example, what two-year-old, three-year-old is gonna just eat one gummy,” said Dr. Stork.
Dr. Stork said a child’s smaller size and weight can lead to more severe symptoms including low blood pressure, severe tiredness, and trouble breathing, resulting in a trip to the hospital.
“They get much sicker, they have alterations in mental status, they have coma they can require assisted ventilatory support and a tracheal tube in an airway to manage that exposure.”
She said people who have these products in their homes should store them out of reach.
“It needs to be treated as though it’s a medicine and it’s a drug.Having it around is okay but treat it like one of those as well, it’s gotta be up and away it’s gotta be treated like any other toxic medication that might be in the home and if at all try to avoid this products that look and taste like candy.”
She said she thinks this increase could be happening because it’s more socially acceptable to use these products. She said it’s something to keep an eye on as recreational marijuana becomes legalized in New York State.
If you think a child has swallowed any form of marijuana, call the poison center at 1-800-222-1222.