Many toddlers are getting sick from eating food in the pot

tAccording to a study published Tuesday, the number of young children, especially toddlers, accidentally ingesting cannabis-infused dishes has risen sharply over the past five years as marijuana became legal in the United States. more places in the United States.

More than 7,000 confirmed cases of cannabis ingestion by children under 6 years of age were reported to the nation’s poison control centers between 2017 and 2021, increasing from about 200 to more than 3,000 per year.

Nearly a quarter of children are hospitalized, some seriously ill, according to a new analysis in the journal pediatrics department.

And those are just the reported cases, said Dr. Marit Tweet, a medical toxicologist at Southern Illinois Medical School who led the study.

Instances of children ingesting cannabis products such as candy, chocolate, and cookies coincide with many states permitting the medical and recreational use of marijuana. Present, 37 US states allow the use of marijuana for medical purposes, and 21 states regulate adult recreational use.

Tweet calling for greater vigilance of parents and for many laws such as those passed by several states to make pot products – often packaged to look like children’s candies and snacks – less appealing and accessible to children.

“When it’s in the form of candy or cookies, people don’t think of it like household chemicals or other things that kids can get into,” she said. “But people really should treat it like a drug.”

Tweet and her colleagues analyzed reports for the National Toxicology Data System, which includes the nation’s 55 regional poison control centers. More than half of the children were toddlers, aged 2 and 3, the study found. More than 90% have food at home.

“They are the ones who start exploring and get up and move around,” she said.

Out of more than 7,000 reports, the researchers were able to track the outcomes of nearly 5,000 cases. They found that nearly 600 children, or about 8%, were admitted to intensive care units, most often with respiratory failure or even coma. Nearly 15% were admitted to non-critical care units and more than a third were admitted to the emergency room. Drowsiness, shortness of breath, rapid heart rate, and vomiting are the most common symptoms.

Brian Schultz, a pediatric emergency physician at Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore, said the results were not surprising. He previously worked at the National Children’s Hospital in Washington, DC, where he and his colleagues treated children who ingested pot food “almost daily,” he said.

Reports and hospitalizations increased during the last two years of the study, during the COVID-19 pandemic. Tweets say more kids at home, more opportunities to find snacks. She added: “With cannabis becoming more widely legalized, parents may feel less stigmatized when seeking help from poison centers and care providers. health.

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