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NY Seeing Spike In Kids Accidentally Eating Marijuana Edibles

The Upstate New York Poison Center has seen a sharp increase in the number of calls to its poison center for kids and teens who have eaten marijuana edibles.
The Upstate New York Poison Center has seen a sharp increase in the number of calls to its poison center for kids and teens who have eaten marijuana edibles. Photo Credit: Plants for Persephone on Unsplash

Authorities in New York are warning of an increasing number of kids and teens accidentally consuming marijuana edibles.

Calls to the Upstate New York Poison Center (NYPC) for children and teens 19 and younger consuming cannabis-containing food spiked nearly sixfold from 2019, the organization said.

The change is even higher when looking at kids 5 and under. Calls for that age group topped 60 as of early August, compared to just seven calls three years prior.

NYPC said it is on track to handle the highest number of cases for marijuana edibles in its 65-year history, for multiple reasons.

“Some of the biggest reasons why we think there is this increase is because these products are more readily available and many products have enticing packaging,” said Dr. Vince Calleo, medical director of NYPC. 

“No matter the reason, our number one concern right now is for the pediatric population because marijuana can have serious effects on their small bodies.”

Enticed by what look like candy or sweets, children tend to eat more than what is considered a single dose for an adult, the organization said. And unlike smoking marijuana, the effects of edibles may not kick in for almost 90 minutes.

Experts said in young children, exposures to edible THC products frequently require a trip to a healthcare facility. 

In young children, marijuana can cause changes in blood pressure and heart rate, severe tiredness, trouble breathing, and even coma.

“It’s easy to forget and leave something out on a table or a counter, but please remember to treat marijuana products just like a dangerous medication,” Calleo said. 

“Kids are curious and can’t normally tell the difference between products with and without THC.”

NYPC recommended storing any marijuana edibles up high, out of reach of children or in a medicine lock box to prevent kids from ingesting the drug.

Those who suspect that a child may have ingested marijuana, in any form, are urged to contact a poison control center. 

For kids showing signs of more serious effects, like difficulty breathing, call 911. 

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