Shocking number of young kids in NJ keep eating marijuana edibles
Are you into marijuana edibles? Be careful — your kids might be into them, too.
Across the month of July alone, the New Jersey Poison Control Center assisted in 30 cases of kids aged 1 to 12 who had accidentally eaten edible forms of cannabis, according to figures released on Monday.
"Unfortunately, this is a pretty common occurrence, actually," said Diane Calello, executive and medical director of the Center.
"Cannabis exposures" have been on the rise for the past few years, according to Calello. It's not only an issue among kids under 6 — the typical window for pediatric poisoning — but for school-aged children as well.
"And that's just because they're tasty," Calello said.
NJ laws for marijuana edibles
New Jersey law does not permit marijuana edibles that look like food, such as brownies and cookies. But there are gummies for sale at dispensaries, and parents can choose to bake their own sweets using the cannabis products they've legally purchased.
"Since some edibles may be highly concentrated, beware of what you buy if you live with young and school-aged children," said Lewis Nelson, chair of emergency medicine at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School. "Although edibles ... can be fun and/or therapeutic for adults, high levels of THC (the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana) can lead to dangerous overdose symptoms in children."
Risks for children from marijuana products
Children who ingest edibles are at a much higher risk than adults for severe health effects. In most cases, according to Calello, a child will need to be evaluated at a hospital for a day or two to work out the symptoms and be on their way. But in some extreme cases, due to the amount of cannabis ingested, kids could experience effects such as seizures and trouble breathing.
The cornerstone of pediatric poisoning prevention is keeping products out of sight and reach of children. The New Jersey Poison Control Center also advises adults with kids to only purchase marijuana products from licensed sources, and to limit the amount of edible products in the home at one time.