MUSC: Increase in children accidentally poisoned by cannabis edibles

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) – A recent study shows an increase of children under the age of six accidentally poisoned by cannabis edibles from 2017 to 2021. The findings reveal more than 7,000 cases and of those, 2-year-olds had the highest exposure.

MUSC Doctor Christopher Pruitt says symptoms include central nervous system depression and children can be minimally responsive.

“We usually give them fluids, we may give them oxygen support if there is concern for protecting their airway. If you look at the pediatric study that was sited thankfully less than 1% of these children actually needed ventilatory support or to go on a breathing machine but that does happen,“ says Pruitt.  

The study was published in the Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics and data shows more than 570 children were admitted to critical care units.

“If children don’t get help quickly then they could die potentially,” says Dr. Pruitt. 

Dr. Pruitt says the majority of cases occur in a home setting and the candy edibles entice children. “If you have these types of products in your home be aware of the packaging or the setting in which they’re are stored.”

What happens when children are exposed to cannabis?

“Medical providers are mandated reporters for any kind of situation that might be unsafe for children. So obviously we’re talking about a situation that could be unsafe for children,” says Dr. Pruitt. 

Some people may wonder why the federal government doesn’t require cannabis edibles to be in child-resistant packaging. According to MUSC, the federal government has not legalized marijuana so no federal regulations. 

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