Health Alert: More calls to Upstate Poison Center for marijuana ingestion in children

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SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Cannabis candies can easily be mistaken for the real thing – especially by a child.

“These are not innocuous candies, chocolates to be left alone,” said Dr. Christine Stork, the Clinical Director at the Upstate New York Poison Center, “They should be treated the same as any other toxic medication.”

It’s concerning for the poison center, because it’s seen an increase in calls about children consuming these products.

“They should be locked away, up and away out of the reach of these small children who can’t differentiate between candy and one of these products.”

Dr. Christine Stork

The calls to the center are often regarding children younger than 6 years old. In 2011, the center received two calls for this age range, in 2020, there were 55 and this year, the number as of May 31 was 43.

Another concern is the dosage. Stork said only a fraction or piece of the product is intended for adults to consume.

“As you can imagine any two, three, four, five year old might not stop at one or two gummies or a piece of the chocolate bar,” Stork explained.

Based on the dose, the symptoms from edibles can be delayed. Here are somethings to look out for, “Depressed level of consciousness, coma, they may have decreased respiratory effort or lack of breathing, may require a breathing tube,” Dr. Stork added, “Those are the biggest concern with many of these products.”

Dr. Stork’s biggest message to families is to treat these products like medication, so keep it in a safe spot away from children. Since children mimic adult behavior, she said not to use these products around them.

If you have concerns about your child ingesting ‘cannabis candy’ you can call the Upstate New York Poison Center: 1(800) 222-1222.

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