Ed­i­ble pot poses risk to kids

Ac­ci­den­tal poi­son­ing one of doc­tors’ big con­cerns

Metro Canada (Halifax) - - CANADA - Wanyee li Metro | Van­cou­ver

B.C. doc­tors are warn­ing par­ents and au­thor­i­ties about the po­ten­tial risk cannabis ed­i­bles pose to chil­dren, es­pe­cially if the fed­eral le­gal­iza­tion of mar­i­juana does not in­clude reg­u­la­tions for ed­i­bles.

Fraser Health med­i­cal of­fi­cer Dr. Michelle Murti penned an ar­ti­cle in the Oc­to­ber edi­tion of the B.C. Med­i­cal Jour­nal, cit­ing a Colorado study that found there were al­most twice as many hospi­tal vis­its for ac­ci­den­tal exposure to cannabis in chil­dren two years af­ter le­gal­iza­tion.

“The on­go­ing un­reg­u­lated avail­abil­ity of cannabis ed­i­bles poses a par­tic­u­lar risk to chil­dren who are more likely to un­in­ten­tion­ally in­gest such prod­ucts,” wrote Murti.

The Cana­dian govern­ment has said mar­i­juana will be le­gal­ized by July 2018. It is not clear yet ex­actly how the leg­is­la­tion will ad­dress ed­i­bles.

Ac­ci­den­tal mar­i­juana poi­son­ing among chil­dren is one of doc­tors’ big­gest con­cerns around le­gal­iza­tion, con­firmed Dr. Pa­tri­cia Daly, chief med­i­cal health of­fi­cer at Van­cou­ver Coastal Health.

“Stud­ies across Amer­ica show a dra­matic in­crease in child­hood mar­i­juana poi­son­ing in states that had ei­ther le­gal­ized medic­i­nal or recre­ational mar­i­juana. This can be quite a se­ri­ous con­di­tion,” she said.

Cannabis poi­son­ing in in­fants, tod­dlers, and young chil­dren can af­fect their breath­ing and put them in a coma. Daly says she has heard count­less sto­ries from par­ents whose chil­dren in­ad­ver­tently con­sumed brown­ies or candy laced with mar­i­juana.

The risk is es­pe­cially clear when the is­sue is in the pub­lic eye, such as when the City of Van­cou­ver in­tro­duced busi­ness li­cences for mar­i­juana dis­pen­saries. Daly suc­cess­fully rec­om­mended to coun­cil­lors that ed­i­bles not be al­lowed as part of that frame­work.

“Af­ter I made that rec­om­men­da­tion to city coun­cil, I heard many sto­ries from peo­ple about their chil­dren in­ad­ver­tently con­sum­ing cannabis and re­sult­ing in over­doses,” she said.

If adults de­cide to con­sume ed­i­ble mar­i­juana prod­ucts, they should en­sure they don’t get in the hands of chil­dren, she said.

“They need to keep th­ese prod­ucts out of the reach of chil­dren and in child­proof con­tain­ers.”

But even youth and adults who in­ten­tion­ally eat cannabis prod­ucts need to be care­ful. Mon­i­tor­ing dosage in ed­i­bles is chal­leng­ing and most cannabis­re­lated hospi­tal vis­its are due to ed­i­bles, said Daly.

In fact, out of 65 cases of mar­i­juana poi­son­ing af­ter the 2015 4/20 rally at St. Paul’s Hospi­tal, 76 per cent of them were caused by ed­i­ble prod­ucts, she said.

In her ar­ti­cle, Murti says gov­ern­ments should roll out ed­u­ca­tion pro­grams about ed­i­bles for con­sumers and es­tab­lish mar­ket­ing re­stric­tions for ed­i­bles. Daly agrees and likens it to the fight against tobacco com­pa­nies when cig­a­rettes were ad­ver­tised to chil­dren.

“It’s like the old days where cig­a­rette mak­ers have cig­a­rettes that look like candy. We don’t al­low that any­more, and we cer­tainly shouldn’t per­mit cannabis prod­ucts to be sold this way.”

The As­so­ci­ated Press

Wee­tos, Weed-itz and Fla­vor­blaster mar­i­juana-in­fused ed­i­bles. th­ese sorts of prod­ucts need to be kept out of reach of chil­dren and in child­proof con­tain­ers.

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