A new study shows the number of young kids accidentally ingesting cannabis has gone up dramatically between 2017 and 2021, and doctors think it could be even worse now.
"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," Dr. Michelle Arzubi-Hughes, a Pediatric Emergency Physician, said.
She works at Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters in Norfolk, Virginia. She said she’s treated kids as young as two years old who are experiencing the effects of accidentally eating cannabis. And this is a problem across our country; a study just published in the Journal Pediatrics shows the number of young kids accidentally ingesting cannabis went up by nearly 1400 percent between 2017 and 2021. Dr. Arzubi-Hughes said it might be even worse now.
"I've definitely seen an increase in these children presenting with an overdose," she said.
She said if a child eats cannabis, symptoms are similar to what you’d see in an adult who’s high: sleepiness, confusion, and increased appetite. But they can also be more serious, like trouble breathing and rapid heart rate.
She said parents who have cannabis edibles should treat them like a prescription medication and lock them away, out of reach from kids. She said she's even talked to her own children about the dangers, and encourages other parents to do the same.
“I said, 'But you are not allowed to have candy from any of your friends unless you bring me the packaging first,'" Dr. Arzubi-Hughes said. "I'm a big believer in being open with your children."
She also said it’s time for manufacturers to change the packaging for cannabis edibles so they're not so similar to popular candy brands.