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Breaking News: Marijuana-Laced Candy: Is Your Child at Risk?

Blog Breaking News: Marijuana-Laced Candy: Is Your Child at Risk?

Marijuana, a drug now legal in 24 U.S. states, has become more of a commodity in recent years, inspiring some manufacturers to create new and different products for consumers than ever before. Enter edibles, pot-laced sweet treats that can be extremely dangerous to young children.


Marijuana is not just in the plant form anymore. You can now find pot in candies, cookies, brownies and even chips, say experts—and these treats have been falling into the hands of innocent kids causing catastrophic circumstances.

Marijuana, a drug now legal in 24 U.S. states, has become more of a commodity in recent years, inspiring some manufacturers to create new and different products for consumers than ever before. Enter edibles, pot-laced sweet treats that can be extremely dangerous to young children.

The challenge with these items, according to Blake Froberg, M.D., a pediatric hospitalist and medical toxicologist at Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health and Associate Medical Director of the Indiana Poison Center, are their risk to children. Many kids don’t know what they are eating contains marijuana. “Edibles are specifically made to taste and look more innocent and appealing—so kids (as well as adults) don’t automatically know that they contain marijuana,” he says. “The taste of alcohol isn’t appealing to the palate of most children, so even if kids are exploring their environment and try these things, they will likely consume very little or spit the beverage back out,” says Dr. Frober. “However, edibles taste just like candy, so kids are more likely to eat them, or if they consume one they are enticed to eat more.”

Additionally, the challenge from a poison control perspective, he says, is that it’s hard to tell the dosing of drugs in each treat. Each one edible can vary in the amount of marijuana it contains, so it’s hard to know exactly how much a child may have ingested, says Dr. Frober.

What should you do if you think your child has ingested an edible? “Call the poison control center or 911 immediately,” suggests Dr. Froberg. What happens when a child eats an edible? Reactions can vary from child to child and how much marijuana has been consumed. “Kids can experience paranoia and psychosis,” says Dr. Froberg. “They can have trouble with coordination and depending on how much they consume, they can have profound sedation which can lead to being comatose.”

How can parents keep their kids safe? “In general, when children are over the age of 5, they start to understand not to put things –pills, food, other items—in their mouth unless it’s okay with an adult,” says Dr. Froberg. “This is a good time to have the talk about what should—and what should not—be ingested.”

Cater your speech appropriately to the age of the child. If you are unsure of how to do it, talk to your family doctor or pediatrician to gain insights, he says. “When children are school age, you should explain the dangers of drugs, alcohol, prescription medications and over-the-counter drugs, in terms they understand,” says Dr. Froberg. “So by their early teenage years, kids should have the education and the knowledge of the dangers of addiction and the abuse of drugs.”

-- By Judy Koutsky 

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