Children's Hospital Colorado

Safety Concerns for Kids and Edible Marijuana

NBC News | October 30, 2016
Dr. Wang at Children's Hospital Colorado.

As more and more states lean toward the legalization of recreational marijuana, there is a growing safety concern about the increase of children ingesting and being exposed to edible marijuana products. One reason, other than the fact that there are just more of these products around, is that many of these edibles are almost indistinguishable from normal candy and baked goods, which can be confusing to kids.

More edibles, more opportunity for accidental ingestion

A recent study from the University of Colorado found that the number of calls to poison control centers went up four times in six years — going from 9 calls per year in 2009 to 47 calls in 2015. Because of this, Colorado passed the Gummy Bear Law in June of 2016, which effectively banned THC-infused gummies in the shape of animals or fruit. However, there are still many edibles on the market that could be easily confused with normal candy.

Side effects in children

Sam Wang, MD, assistant professor of Pediatric Emergency Medicine and Medical Toxicology at Children’s Hospital Colorado, says that the side effects in children can vary. He says he’s seen, “…anywhere from a little sleepiness and pretty minimal symptoms, to the other end of spectrum where kids have had difficulty breathing and had to be put on a ventilator.”

So how do parents help keep their kids away from accidentally eating edibles? In the opinion of cannabis advocate and parent, Jane West, the best defense is good parenting. “It’s no different than that you talk to your kids about being responsible with all substances,” she says. And part of that responsibility for parents means making sure all recreational marijuana is kept locked up and away from your kids. Read tips for marijuana safety in the home.

Learn more about what you can do to protect your children from ingesting edibles in the full story from NBC News.

Get more resources for parents about marijuana.