NORFOLK, Va. — Unintentional cannabis ingestion among children is an increasing problem, according to health experts.

Marijuana edibles

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Marijuana edibles

A study published in the Journal "Pediatrics" shows that between 2017 and 2021, exposure to edible cannabis in children under six rose by 1,375%.

Dr. Michelle Arzubi-Hughes, a pediatric emergency room physician at Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters, says she’s seen it firsthand.

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“I’ve definitely seen an increase I hadn’t seen before,” stated Arzubi-Hughes.

More kids ingesting cannabis unintentionally, experts say

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Cannabis gummies

Symptoms of cannabis ingestion in kids can be similar to what one might notice in an adult who is high. They include sleepiness, confusion, and an increase in appetite. But it can also be more serious like breathing difficulties and a rapid heart rate.

“I think the scary ones are when they’re super sleepy, difficult to arouse,” stated Arzubi-Hughes. She added, “I think the biggest risk factor is that their breathing rate would be so low that they’re not really getting enough oxygen to their brain, to their muscles, to all their organs that need it.”

The doctor suggests that if parents are going to have cannabis edibles, they lock them away, similar to prescription drugs or alcohol.

She also hopes that manufacturers will change the packaging that is very similar to popular candy brands.

“Unless you really carefully look to see that the name is slightly altered, and there’s a little marijuana leaf on it, you won’t know,” she explained. “That was a very, very poor choice in my opinion, from the manufacturers.”

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