The legalization of recreational marijuana in Michigan has resulted in a spike in kids eating edible pot treats, according to a professor at Wayne State University.
According to a news release from the university, more than half of calls made to the Michigan Poison Center at WSU concerning marijuana exposure through edibles like brownies, chocolate bars, candy and gummies involved children as young as 6 years old.
School of Medicine Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine and Toxicology Fellowship Program Director Andy King said the uptick is likely due to the November 2018 legalization of marijuana in Michigan, leading to a higher availability of substance in homes.
Since the beginning of the year, 59 pediatric calls to the Michigan Poison Center related to marijuana exposure involved edibles.
“Wherever you start seeing legalization, kids are going to have more access to it by sheer numbers and probability to it,” King said. “A lot of the edibles are so desirable to children. This is the age that really can’t read, and they’re going to (sneak) a cookie or steal a gummy bear.”
King recommends all edibles and substances, including prescription drugs, be kept in a locked box to ensure safety.
“A typical marijuana cigarette holds about 10 mg of THC," King said. “That’s what you see in a gummy bear. That’s a dose for a novice person to take to get the psychedelic or enjoyable effects of THC. These edibles can go up to 10 times that amount.”
“They can get really sick from the adult products. They can have pretty scary and profound dramatic presentations,” said King, who divides his time between the Michigan Poison Center and the emergency department. “Some can be so sleepy they have to be intubated. It can last for a long time. They don’t hit you right away like smoking does, they take a long time. It’s such a long-acting drug. They can be pretty sick for a day or two. And then lingering sick for two days. There’s no antidote for it,” he said.