Spot the Pot: Can you tell the difference between candy and marijuana edibles?
Marijuana (also known as cannabis) is now legal for medical and recreational use in certain states. Marijuana becoming legal increases the availability of edibles that are infused with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana and increases the risk of unintentional THC poisoning risk.
Marijuana edibles often look like regular sweets and snacks. Some examples of products that are very common are gummy candies, chocolate bars, lollipops, fudge, baked goods, snack foods, cookies, brownies, cupcakes, popcorn, ice cream, and beverages. Symptoms of a THC edible include overdose effects such as: intoxication, altered perception, anxiety, panic, paranoia, dizziness, weakness, slurred speech, poor coordination, excessive sleepiness, apnea, heart problems, impair memory, impaired concentration, poor lung health, alter motor control, judgement, and coordination.
How can parents keep marijuana edibles out of the hands of kids? -Store them properly: Properly store the edibles in the same way you would store medications and other potentially toxic products. Make sure that the products are out of reach and locked in a specific location. If applicable, use child-resistant packaging or containers.
- Use with caution: Never consume marijuana edibles in front of of children, either for medical or recreational purposes. This could create temptation for kids to try edibles and using them could impair reaction times especially when driving. - Avoid buying THC edibles that look similar to candy: Store in out-of-reach locations away from children
- Talk to family members, friends, and caregivers: Ask anyone who your child is around or spends time with if they use marijuana edibles. If they do, plan about how to properly store them away from where children will have access.
Suggestions for parents who want to talk about to their child about marijuana edibles:
- Teach your children to ask permission before eating food they find. This can give the parents an opportunity to check their candy before giving it to them to eat. - Talk to your kids about the potential harm of marijuana to their still developing minds and bodies. - Emphasize the importance of never driving under the influence of marijuana or ride in the car with a driver who is under the influence of marijuana. Adults and teens can get into fatal car accidents when under the influence. - Talk with your pediatrician if you have any other possible questions towards the influence of marijuana on the adolescent brain.
What to look out for on edibles packaging:
- Cannabis symbol-> this must be on the front of every THC edible on the market - Cannabis infused-> The words "cannabis infused" must be on the front of each package - Government warning-> The package must give a warning statement that it is infused with THC. This must be written with a yellow background to show that they must use with caution - Proposition 65 warning- This warning discloses if there is anything potentially harmful within the product - Ingredients-> Look at the active and inactive ingredients of the product
- Serving Size-> Number of discrete units, net weight per discrete units (how much THC per unit) can be in mg, or mL. -Contact information of the license holder-> Name, number, address, lot number, packaging date What can a parent do if their child unintentionally consumes a marijuana edible? - Try to find out how much they consumed and what they ate. - Call the free hotline for poison control if needed: 1-800-222-1222
- If the child's symptoms are severe, please call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room immediately.
References: Osterhoudt, K. (2022). Edible marijuana dangers: How parents can prevent THC poisoning. HealthyChildren.org. https://www.healthychildren.org