With cannabis edibles on the rise as an easy way to ingest marijuana, police are warning parents to be wary about their children accidentally ingesting edible thinking that it's candy.
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"Drug-laced edibles are packaged like regular candy and may be hard to distinguish from the real candy," says the Johnstown Police Department in Pennsylvania told CBS News. According to the American Association of Poison Control Center, the most common reason that parents called poison control regarding children ages 6 to 12 was analgesic drugs – pain-relieving drugs. Although only 4.5% of these calls were related to street drugs and stimulants, it is important for parents to know how to identify if their child has ingested cannabis and what the effects could be, as a child's tolerance for the drug is different than adults.
A study in Colorado, a state where cannabis use is legal, determined that twice as many kids visited the emergency room for THC ingestion since recreational marijuana became legal for sale across the state. The study also states that annual poison-control cases were five times what they were before legalization.
Although the way marijuana effects kids may mirror the effects it has on adults, it is possible that because children are smaller and weigh less, that effects may be more intense. The National Institute on Drug Abuse says that symptoms will begin to show about 30 minutes to an hour after ingesting the edible.
Signs your child may have ingested a cannabis-laced edible are:
A 2017 study identified lethargy as the number one most common side effect in youth who have accidentally ingested cannabis. Different strands of cannabis have varying ratios of cannabinoids, meaning that different strands will affect the body differently. THC is one of these cannabinoids, and is the part of the plant responsible for the relaxing effect. The more THC, the stronger the effect.
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Loss of coordination is the second most common sign of accidental marijuana ingestion out of the signs listed above. Marijuana affects the cerebellum and basal ganglia in the brain. These two areas regulate a person's coordination, balance, and the time in which they react.
Police officials say that although chances are slim that your child could ingest an edible containing marijuana this Halloween season, it is important to be aware of what to look out for!