HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Tuesday, Jan. 17, marks one week since legal recreational marijuana sales started in Connecticut, and state leaders are concerned over the risks edibles pose to children.
According to a recent study published in Pediatrics, the number of children accidentally ingesting cannabis products increased by 1,375% between 2017 and 2021. In 2017, there were just over 200 cases of accidental consumption by children, and in 2021, the number jumped to 3,054.
The study found that most children found the products in homes, and about 30% of cases required hospitalization, including critical care.
Doctors say poisonings are preventable, and you can take big steps to protect small children.
“Don’t refer to them as candy, don’t treat them like candy,” said Dr. Suzanne Doyon, the medical director for the Connecticut Poison Control Center.
Even with strict guidelines about cannabis packaging and THC content, health experts and state lawmakers are concerned about children accessing edibles.
“No matter what the legal protections are, there is nothing to substitute for parental vigilance,” U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) said.
“If you ingest them, ingest them privately away from your children’s eyes,” Doyon said.
If children ingest them, they may show symptoms including sleepiness, slurred speech, trouble breathing, and vomiting.
“Don’t wait for symptoms to appear,” Doyon said. “Call the poison center right away when you have figured out that a child got into an edible.”
JM Pedini, the development director for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, also known as NORML, agrees that adults must be responsible.
“We already know how to keep our cleaning products, our prescription medications, and alcohol out of reach of those who shouldn’t have access,” Pedini said. “The same common sense absolutely extends to cannabis products.”
If you think a child consumed a cannabis product, call the Connecticut Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222.