Calls about child marijuana exposure rise, expected to increase further once recreational pot is sold in CT

New London

NEW LONDON, Conn. (WTNH) — Kids may think the marijuana gummies and cookies in their house are some of their favorite sweet treats but looks can be very deceiving.

“So the concerns are children develop much more severe symptoms,” said Dr. Suzanne Doyon, the medical director of the Connecticut Poison Control Center at the UConn Health Center campus in Farmington.

She says they went from no calls about children ingesting marijuana edibles in 2016 and 2017 to 88 exposures last year.

“We are on track and expect that number to be even higher in 2021,” Doyon said.

So far this year, there have been at least 58 exposures and depending on the dosage, that can mean anything from nausea to kids becoming comatose and needing emergency department or intensive care treatment.

“There are cookies, for example, where the dose really should be a tenth of a cookie,” Doyon said. “But who eats a tenth of a cookie?”

Doyon is seeking more funding because she wants to add more staff to the poison control center. She believes once recreational marijuana starts to be sold in the state, calls are going to go up even more.

“We expect these types of exposures to double if not triple,” Doyon said.

She’s hoping for more staff to man the poison control center hotline and a data analyst to keep track of the exposures in kids and adults. 

“They call because they have that vomiting syndrome,” Doyon said.

She says most importantly, parents should never ingest marijuana or any medicine or vitamins in front of their children.

“We’ve had a couple of instances where the child ingested the gummy because ‘that’s what you do, mommy,’” Doyon said.

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