Kids sickened by THC edibles marketed as popular candies
South Shore Health’s pediatric emergency department (ED) has seen a recent uptick in incidences involving children who have become ill after ingesting products such as candies, chocolates, sours and “gummies” containing THC.
One recent case at South Shore Hospital involved gummies which were packaged to look nearly identical to a leading brand of children’s "krispy marshmallow treats." At least several children have been treated at the hospital over the past few weeks.
“Children often can’t tell the difference between a food product laced with THC and one without. Edibles laced with THC, and intended for adult consumption with adult dosages, have a greater clinical impact on children based on their smaller size due to the child’s larger “volume of distribution.” said Mark Waltzman, MD, Chair of Pediatrics, South Shore Hospital.
“Even a small amount of THC in a youngster can have a profound effect, leading to lethargy, hallucinations and the inability to arouse a child.”
The Massachusetts Poison Control Center (PCC), cites an emerging trend in recent data concerning pediatric ingestions of marijuana edibles. In the first two quarters of 2020, the PCC saw a sharp rise in adult cases from 8 to 14, while pediatric cases were greater in number and, as with adults, nearly doubled, from 25 to 49.
Among the types of edibles reported to the PCC as being responsible for poisonous episodes in the last three-and-a-half years, marijuana candy had risen by June, 2020 to be the most common. In comparison, marijuana baked goods were associated with the most cases in the year 2017.
Waltzman reminds families to be vigilant when it comes to candy that their children might possess or that is lying around the house and is easily accessible. What may appear to be candy, may be a cannabis product.
“Be sure to check the fine print and look for indications of THC,” Waltzman said.