SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WIVT/WBGH) — The Upstate New York Poison Center released a warning today in regards to a sharp increase in the number of calls to the poison center for children and teens who have eaten marijuana edibles.

According to new data, the poison center has received 64 calls in regards to marijuana ingestion and is on par to handle the highest number of cases for marijuana edibles in its 65-year history. The center only had 7 cases in 2019.

“Some of the biggest reasons why we think there is this increase is because these products are more readily available and many products have enticing packaging,” says Dr. Vince Calleo, medical director of the Upstate New York Poison Center. “No matter the reason, our number one concern right now is for the pediatric population because marijuana can have serious effects on their small bodies.”

Edible THC products often look like candy or sweets, tempting young children to eat them. Children will often eat more than what is considered a single dose for an adult.

“These edible products look appealing to young children, and many times, children don’t stop at just one. It is important to remember that unlike smoked marijuana, the effects of edibles may not kick in for almost 90 minutes. Pediatric exposures to edible THC products frequently require a trip to a healthcare facility. In young children, marijuana can cause changes in blood pressure and heart rate, severe tiredness, trouble breathing and even coma,” said the center.

Medical director of the Upstate New York Medical Center Dr. Vince Calleo said that the best place to store all cannabis-related products is up high and out of the reach of children.

He also said to remember these tips if you are over 21 and chose to have marijuana edibles:

  • Consider buying a medication lock box. You can obtain a free one here.
  • Save the poison center’s number, 1-800-222-1222, just in case.
  • If you suspect a child has swallowed any form of marijuana, call them. Symptoms/reactions are often delayed.