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Rise in New York children getting sick after accidentally eating cannabis candy

Mom, I’m craving!

A growing number of young New Yorkers are being accidentally drugged and, in some cases, seriously ill by mistakenly ingesting cannabis candy left behind by careless adults, after the state expanded marijuana legalization.

Stony Brook University Hospital on Long Island reports that the number of children it has seen with prolonged or severe exposure to toxic substances after swallowing marijuana-containing edibles such as gummies has nearly tripled, going from five cases in 2020 to 14 cases in 2021 and 13 cases last year.

There were only four combined cases between 2017 and 2019, said Dr. Candice Foy, a pediatrician at SUNY Stony Brook Children’s Hospital.

“Kids are thrilled to get candy,” Foy said. “We had a grandmother who mistakenly passed edible cannabis to a child. »

New York legalized marijuana for adult use in 2021, and a huge illicit smoking room market has also emerged.

Toddlers and other young people who ingest edibles may experience symptoms such as fainting or sudden drowsiness, slurred speech, difficulty walking or lack of coordination, lethargy, dry mouth, dilated pupils, red eyes, rapid heartbeat and vomiting.

A report from Stony Brook University Hospital revealed that there has been an increase in the number of children becoming ill after accidentally eating cannabis candy since marijuana was legalized in New York.
Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

In the worst cases, the children required intubation for difficulty breathing or intravenous therapy for dehydration, Foy said.

The cases involve children between the ages of 1 and 11, according to the Stony Brook analysis led by Foye, Dr Annamarie Fernandes and medical student Cassie Wang.

Children who can find or reach for colorful THC-infused edibles believe they are eating regular candy, medical experts have warned. THC is the active ingredient in weed.

It doesn’t take a lot of cannabis to make a small child sick, they added.

The report reveals that the number of cases increased from five in 2020 to 14 cases in 2021 and 13 cases last year.
The report reveals that the number of cases increased from five in 2020 to 14 cases in 2021 and 13 cases last year.
Helayne Seidman

A child weighing 30 pounds and eating just 2.5 milligrams — a fraction of the typical 10 mg of food — would exceed the toxic threshold for getting sick, experts said.

Toddlers and young children have found cannabis candy in purses, closets and even in the fridge or freezer, the doctor said.

“A kid looking for ice cream found cannabis in the freezer,” she said.

Foy said the majority of cases at Stony Brook involved cannabis candy, but also pot brownies and a THC-infused chocolate bar.

New York rules require marijuana edibles to be placed in child-resistant packaging.
New York rules require marijuana edibles to be placed in child-resistant packaging.
Photo by Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images

Under state law, physicians are required to notify child protective services of suspected cases of parental neglect or child abuse, which includes children admitted to hospital for having ingested marijuana.

“A lot of times it’s a mistake made by a good parent,” Foy said.

Stony Brook’s findings mirror a stunning study of children sickened by cannabis exposure in Colorado and published in the Journal of Pediatrics. Colorado was one of the first states to legalize recreational marijuana in 2012.

Researchers at Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Safety in Denver reviewed hospital records of children under age 6 who consumed weed-based gummies between January 1, 2015 and October 25, 2022.

The study revealed 151 cases where children consumed edible cannabis, and 53% of them met the criteria for “harmful exposure”. The children participating in the study were on average 3 years old and the typical amount of THC ingested was 2.1 mg.

New York rules approved last year require cannabis edibles to be placed in child-resistant packaging.

Foy said the packaging has become safer for children, but added: “Cannabis edibles are something that should be locked away.

“Edibles should not be in the kitchen.”

Parents wondering if their children are sickened by cannabis can call the Poison Control Center Helpline at 800 222-1222 for immediate medical advice while waiting for an emergency room visit.

New York Post

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