Sharp Rise of Children Ingesting Edibles is of Grave Concern


A new American Academy of Pediatrics study, Pediatric Edible Cannabis Exposure and Acute Toxicity: 2017-2021, has found a sharp rise in the number of children who accidentally ingested marijuana edibles.  From 2017 through 2021 there were more than 7,000 confirmed cases of children younger than 6 ingesting edibles in the United States.  There was a 1,375 percent increase in the number of cases from 2017 to 2021, rising from 200 cases in 2017 to more than 3,000 reported in 2021, with almost a quarter of the children requiring hospitalization.

With the legalization of the adult use of marijuana in New Jersey and other states throughout the country, these findings are of great concern.  The rise of the theses cases directly coincides with more states legalizing cannabis use both medically and for adult recreational use.  Currently, 37 states permit the use of marijuana for medical purposes and 21 states for recreational adult use.

Marijuana edibles are often packaged to resemble candy, cookies or other sweets and look appealing to young children. A child’s brain is actively developing until a person is in their mid-20s and marijuana can be very harmful to its development.  Additionally, cannabis exposure can be very serious for young children and can cause difficulty breathing, sleepiness, dizziness and trouble walking.

As we are all learning to navigate the adult use of marijuana, we must remember that although edibles are packaged to look like food or treats, we must treat them as we would with any medicine and ensure that they are kept in a secure place out of the reach of children. 

Be Well.

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