People who give children THC edibles give all the other responsible consumers a bad rep. And with Halloween just around the corner, it’s important for parents to keep their kids safe from THC-infused edibles disguised as candy.
For us adults, the fact that cannabis edibles don’t smell or taste differently from regular candy is a bonus — but that obviously is not okay for kids. We don’t want young ones to suffer from getting high, and worrying their parents sick for that matter.
There has been an increase in cases of children consuming cannabis in states where it’s legal. In Colorado, there was even a case of a two year old child having a marijuana overdose. Meanwhile, in other mature markets like Colorado and California, kids around the age of 8 suffered from cannabis poisoning. It is certainly rare, but there is still a chance of it happening.
Since it’s virtually impossible to tell an edible from regular food these days, it’s become critical for parents and guardians to take extra care around children. They have no idea they’re ingesting cannabis edibles. Many companies even manufacture edibles and sell them in packaging designed to look like popular brands of candy, cookies, and cereal.
While marijuana is well-tolerated by adults, it can be traumatic and severe for young children and infants. In many cases, they have to be taken to the emergency room of a hospital to help manage their symptoms.
Edibles may take a while for its effects to be felt, even in children. Here are some signs you can look out for:
- Excessive sleepiness
- Slurred speech
- Slowed breathing
- Ataxia (difficulty balancing)
You know your child best, so observe for other signs and behaviors that aren’t typical of them.
However, there are some ways you can prevent your kids from accidentally ingesting cannabis edibles. This isn’t important just around Halloween, but year-round:
- Go trick or treating with your kids, and don’t accept homemade candies without properly sealed packaging from known brands. Check for any treats that may have been tampered with. Throw away any candy that has been opened.
- Tell your trick-or-treaters not to consume any candy before you personally inspect them. At the very least, if they are old enough, ask them to keep all the wrappers so that you can check if there were any edibles given to them in the bags. If you live in a state where cannabis is legal either medically or recreationally, any good parent will take the few minutes it requires to inspect the Halloween candy of their child before they consume it.
- Talk to your children about the potential risks of accidentally eating marijuana edibles. This will educate them about the stress and the dangers of ingesting marijuana. It would also be a good opportunity for older children and teens to have discussions about underage use of marijuana and what it can do to their health, paving the way to talk about alcohol and tobacco use too.
While the nationwide cases are few and far in between, it’s still best to avoid the risk. THC edibles are also more costly compared to actual candy, so the chances of adults giving them out is truly rare. But you never know if you have someone malicious lurking around your neighborhood that could actually lace candy and give some out.
If you are a cannabis-consuming parent yourself, it always helps to keep the candies far away from children’s reach. Treat them the same way you would toxic products and pharmaceutical medications. Using child-safe or child-resistant packaging is always recommended, especially with a clear label.
What To Do If You Think Your Child Ate And Edible
In the event that you suspect your child may have eaten marijuana edibles, the most important thing to do first is to stay calm.
Try to obtain information such as by checking what candy or edible your child may have possibly consumed. See how much they ate by comparing how much was in the package, and how much of it is left. Check for any information on the packaging about how much THC it contains.
If you notice that your child is excessively sleepy, breathing deeply, having a hard time breathing, or any other changes in their normal behavior, calling 9-1-1 is best.
Alternatively, you can also visit the nearest emergency room and give them as much information as you possibly can. You may also call poison control even if your child is acting normally. They will let you know if you can monitor your child from the comfort at home, and when it’s best for them to see a medical professional.
The most important thing to remember is that no child has ever died from a marijuana overdose. They will be uncomfortable for a while, but all will be fine. It’s just best to avoid getting their hands into THC edibles for the meantime.
This article originally appeared on Cannabis.net and has been reposted with permission.