- Edibles in candy form are common ways to consume marijuana, and for that reason, parents may be wary about their young kids accidentally eating them – especially around Halloween, when warnings inevitably circulate.
- The chances of this actually happening to your kid are slim. Toys and household products are more likely than marijuana to poison kids.
- Still, reports of marijuana ingestion in kids aren’t unheard of, and it’s good to know the signs that your child may have consumed some.
- Difficulty balancing, paranoia, and drowsiness are common symptoms to look out for.
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Edibles in the form of gummies, cookies, brownies, and chocolates are common ways to consume marijuana, and for that reason, parents may be wary about their young kids accidentally eating these off-limits treats.
“Drug-laced edibles are packaged like regular candy and may be hard to distinguish from the real candy,” a representative for the Johnstown Police Department in Pennsylvania, a state where medicinal marijuana is legal, told CBS News in a statement.
The chances of your kid ingesting a marijuana edible, either by accident or at the hands of a neighbor passing out “candy,” however, are slim. According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers’ National Poison Data System most recent report, the most common reasons people called a center for children ages 6 to 12 – prime trick-or-treating years – were due to analgesics and toys. Only 4.5% of calls in that age group were related to stimulants or street drugs.
Reports of kids accidentally ingesting edibles aren’t unheard of.
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Reports of youngsters consuming marijuana are increasingly prevalent, though still not common, as the substance becomes legal to varying degrees in more and more states.
One study in Colorado, for instance, found that about twice as many kids visited a children’s hospital emergency room for accidental THC ingestion in the years after recreational marijuana stores opened than before. Annual poison-control cases increased five-fold, according to the study.
While the effects of marijuana on kisa are similar to those found in adults, kids under age 12 may experience them more intensely because of their small size, according to the Children’s Hospital of Colorado.
Here are the ways marijuana edibles can affect your child’s body and brain if they accidentally eat one. These effects kick in approximately 30 minutes to an hour after a person eats an edible, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
If your child accidentally eats a cannabis-containing edible, they could lose their balance.
If your child starts wobbling around or can’t stand, it could be a sign they’ve ingested marijuana.
The substance can throw off balance because it affects the brain’s cerebellum and basal ganglia, two areas that regulate balance, coordination, reaction time, and posture.
One November 2017 study found that loss of coordination was the second most common sign an adolescent unintentionally consumed marijuana.
Your child’s eyes might turn red.
When a person consumes marijuana, it can cause the blood vessels to expand and as a result, their eyes might look red and bloodshot. Kids are no different.
They could also be uncharacteristically drowsy or have trouble staying awake.
Different strains of marijuana can produce different effects depending on the ratio of cannabinoids, the chemical compounds found in cannabis that affect the brain.
THC is one of those cannabinoids and it can induce a relaxing effect that makes a person want to fall asleep.
The 2017 Pediatrics study found lethargy to be the most common side effect in kids who accidentally consumed marijuana.
They might become paranoid or confused.
THC, the psychoactive component in marijuana, can lead to feelings of paranoia if consumed in too high of a dose.
Researchers aren’t sure why lower levels of marijuana have a relaxing effect while higher levels can induce panic, but they have observed this phenomenon.
There isn’t a specific amount that can lead to paranoia, as everyone’s tolerance levels for marijuana are different.
Since kids are smaller and weigh less, it’s possible potent edibles could have even stronger paranoia-inducing effects than they would on adults.
Marijuana edibles can also cause a racing heart.
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When marijuana enters a person’s blood stream, it can increase their heart rate because the substance causes blood vessels to expand.
A person’s heart rate can increase by between 20 and 50 beats a minute and that effect can last anywhere from 20 minutes to three hours, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
The long-term effects of marijuana on children are still unknown.
Children are not legally allowed to consume marijuana in any form, so research on the long-term effects of consuming the substance at a young age doesn’t exist.
There is, however, some research on marijuana’s effect on teenagers.
A small study of teenagers in Europe found that people who used marijuana had more gray matter in their brains, which can affect how humans mature over time. The researchers noticed these brain-level changes in teens who had just one or two joints in their lifetimes.
Although researchers are unsure whether higher brain volume is bad for health, they do know brain volume naturally decreases during the aging process, according to the National Institutes of Health.
An international meta-analysis of 23,317 young adults also found that marijuana use could increase risk for depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts.
“Although the causes of major depressive disorder are multifactorial and complex, this meta-analysis suggests that the cannabis exposure could be one factor contributing to depression in young adulthood,” the researchers wrote.
If you suspect your child has eaten an edible and their health may be compromised, get help.
In this situation, call 911 or go to the closest emergency room right away, according to the Children’s Hospital of Colorado. Be sure to stay with your child or make sure they’re supervised at all times in case they lose balance, can’t stay awake, or fall over.
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