If a 3-year-old finds a cookie on the table, he is likely to eat it.
As more states have legalized marijuana use and an ever-widening range of by-products, it’s no wonder more children are exposed, including eating marijuana groceries. A brief research published in the journal Pediatrics found that between 2017 and 2019 there were 4,172 calls to regional poison control centers about cannabis exposures in infants and children up to 9 years old. About half of the calls were related to groceries.
The frequency of these calls and the percentage related to food products increased over the two-year period. Not surprisingly, exposures were about twice as frequent in states where marijuana use is legal than in those where it is not.
More calls about groceries involving younger children
The most common age group was 3 to 5 year olds, which makes sense: it’s the age when they’re old enough for their parents to take their eyes off them for a minute or two, but they don’t. old enough to understand why they shouldn’t eat that brownie, to the gummy or the piece of chocolate.
Fortunately, the effects of these exposures were mostly minor, but in 15% they were moderate and in 1.4% they were severe. In rare cases, significant ingestion may cause respiratory problems or even coma. Of course the problem of groceries: it is difficult to know how much cannabis is in each, it is easy to ingest a lot of it and the effects can last a long time.
It is also important to remember that this was only a study of calls to poison centers. It is impossible to know how many exposures have never been reported, including those that went completely unnoticed by parents or caregivers.
Safety first: children and cannabis
Clearly there will have to be some regulation on labeling and safe packaging for children. But as an immediate step, parents and others shouldn’t buy marijuana groceries that kids might like (just as it’s best not to buy detergent pods that look sweet). If you buy edible marijuana products that a child may want to eat, they should always be stored safely and out of reach.
When parents bring their children to visit friends, it may be a good idea to add marijuana groceries to the list of safety issues you may be asked about. Think of something like, “Hey, our daughter is still small and curious, so we like to ask ourselves about things like matches, guns, medications, marijuana groceries, or other things that might be dangerous to her if she s ‘put it there. Is there anything within your reach? “
It can be a little awkward, but if you do it quickly and routinely, you can lessen the discomfort. And ultimately, it’s worth a little discomfort to keep your child safe.
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