Researchers at Nationwide Children’s Hospital are warning about an increase in accidental ingestion of marijuana by children.
The study relies on National Poison Data System figures from 2000-2017. Up until 2008, the number of incidents involving kids was mostly flat at about 80 cases a year.
Since then, however, it increased by slightly more than 25% a year on average. According to the study, “during this period of increase, more than 70% of these ingestions occurred in states with legislation legalizing marijuana.”
Henry Spiller, one of the study’s authors, says one problem is most children can’t read.
"If you're a two year old you don't read,” he says. “You don't read labels, warning labels, this-has-this—it just looks like candy or brownies and they take it."
Because children have a relatively small body weight, Spiller says the drug’s effects can be especially pronounced, and adults should be careful if kids are around.
“We want them to treat it like it’s their heart medication or their diabetes medication,” he says. “We want them to have that same, ‘I’m going to keep it out of reach, lock it up, keep it up high,’ treat it like it’s a medication.”
In a handful of cases, Spiller notes patients experienced serious symptoms like seizures or comas. But there have been no deaths, and the most commonly reported symptom is drowsiness or lethargy.