Thousands of young children each year consume and are sickened by marijuana edibles, which may look like ordinary candy or cookies – with nearly one-fourth being admitted to the hospital, a new study finds.
The number of children under the age of 6 – most were aged 2 or 3 – who accidentally ate edible cannabis products rose from 207 cases in 2017 to 3,014 cases in 2021, according to research published this week in the journal Pediatrics.
Cases of children consuming marijuana-laced treats grew as more states passed legislation allowing medical and recreational cannabis products. Currently, 37 states permit use of marijuana for medical purposes with 21 states allowing some adult recreational use.
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What are marijuana edibles?
The availability of edible marijuana products has grown since 2014, when Colorado became the first state to legalize recreational use of marijuana. Among the edibles made with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, are gummies, chocolates, lollipops, cookies and other baked goods.
“Many edible THC containing products resemble treats that might easily be mistaken by a child as just another snack,” said study co-author Dr. Marit Tweet, an emergency medicine physician and medical toxicologist with the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, in a…