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Accidental Cannabis Edible Exposures Among Young Children

In just five years, the number of small children in the US exposed to cannabis after accidentally eating an edible rose 1,375%, a new study says.

The legalization of marijuana in many states across the United States has drastically changed the landscape of introducing products containing cannabis to the general public. With the rise of products such as edible cannabis products, accidental cannabis edible exposures among young children have become a major public health issue.

Turns out a toddler can’t tell a Snickerdoodle Haze rice crispy treat from a regular one. Reports of children under the age of six accidentally consuming edibles with marijuana in them have jumped 1,375% between 2017 and 2021, according to a new study in the academic journal Pediatrics.

In 2017 there were 207 such cases reported to poison control centers in the US. But by 2021, that jumped to 3,054, bringing the number of incidents over the five-year period to 7,043. Medical professionals say the numbers likely soared as legalization proliferated (37 states + Washington, DC, allow medical marijuana use, and 21 allow recreational use). Plus, some edibles packaging mimics that of non-THC candy or desserts, and isn’t childproof.

The number of kids finding edibles in their own home has gone up dramatically. Doctors worry that these trends could increase risk for younger kids, who are still learning how to navigate the world, especially since THC can cause serious complications for kids.


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