Beware of Kid-Friendly Cannabis Brownies, Candies, and Other Goodies

They may resemble familiar supermarket treats such as gummy bears, brownies and cookies. But make no mistake: Cannabis edibles aren’t meant for kids.

Unfortunately, many children eat these products when they find them at home. Doctors in emergency rooms across the country are seeing more and more children who have accidentally ingested these products.

“Anecdotally, I’ve seen an increase in pediatric cannabis exposures since marijuana was legalized for recreational use in California,” said James Chenoweth, associate professor of emergency medicine and medical toxicologist at UC Davis. Health.

Chenoweth analyzed poison control center calls nationwide from 2009 to 2019 in an unpublished study and looked at all reported cannabis exposures. With marijuana now legal in 19 states for recreational use, Poison Control has seen the number of calls about marijuana exposure increase across the country.

In California, the number of cannabis-related exposures reported to Poison Control among children 18 and under increased from 150 in 2009 to 777 in 2019.

What foods resemble everyday foods?

• Candy, including chocolate bars, gummies, lollipops, fudge

• Baked goods, snacks and desserts, such as cookies, brownies, cupcakes, popcorn and ice cream

• Sugary drinks like sodas and lemonade

Poison control data is difficult to analyze due to the lack of an edible exposure code before 2017, Chenoweth added.

The cannabis potency in these edible treats can be quite strong. Five milligrams of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, is the typical dose for adults who don’t use marijuana daily. However, a cookie can contain up to 100 mg. of THC. Other edibles are dosed in small bites. A single bite of THC-containing brownie, gummy bear, or donut hole contains 5–10 mg. of cannabis.

“You’re supposed to cut the cookie into ten, but who eats a cookie like that? Who only eats one gummy bear? said Chenoweth. “If you didn’t know you were eating a THC product, it would be easy to fall victim to unintentional THC poisoning,” Chenoweth said.

When children ingest food, side effects can include vomiting, dizziness, difficulty walking, rapid heart rate, drowsiness, confusion, and difficulty breathing.

“Edibles usually make children unstable and altered,” Chenoweth said. “We don’t have specific antidotes for cannabinoids, so our goal is to monitor them until the cannabis gets out of their system.”

UC Davis Children’s Hospital leads the Safe Kids Greater Sacramento coalition, and coordinator Jennifer Rubin offered the following tips for keeping young children safe around edibles:

  • Store food out of reach and in locked cupboards, as you would medication or other toxic products.
  • Avoid consuming food in front of children as they like to copy adults.
  • Children are attracted to sweets and foods that resemble what they normally eat, so try to buy edibles that don’t mimic other items in your home.

“Another pro tip: For teens, use a combination lock or key lock to keep them away from any stored medications, alcohol, and recreational drugs,” Rubin said.

/Public release. This material from the original organization/authors may be ad hoc in nature, edited for clarity, style and length. The views and opinions expressed are those of the author or authors. See in full here.

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