Hudson Valley hospital warns of edible marijuana dangers to kids, teens
This Valentine’s Day, doctors say it’s a good time to make sure cannabis candies aren’t left out for kids to confuse with treats meant for them.
Dr. Darshan Patel is the chief of Pediatric Emergency Medicine at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital in Valhalla. He showed News 12 several packages of candies with and without THC and says it’s often hard for children to tell the difference.
“If you look at the packaging, it doesn’t very clearly say they’re marijuana,” said Patel.
Patel says edible marijuana packaging is typically brightly colored like regular candy packaging and that young kids who can’t read are most at risk.
“This one package alone has 500 milligrams of THC,” said Dr. Patel. “The amount that a child can ingest can be very toxic, and it can lead to effects that alter their respiratory status, they could present as if they’re having seizures. They can also have a really high heart rate and low blood pressure.”
Patel says the recommended dose of THC for adults is 2.5 milligrams – 20 milligrams. He says some edible marijuana products can have 25 -200 times the recommended dose for an adult in a single serving.
“It can affect the cardiovascular system or the respiratory system. When they come to the hospital, sometimes we have to be very aggressive with treatments just to save their life,” said Patel.
Experts recommend parents remove any THC product from its packaging if it looks like something a child or teen might get into and store it in a safe place. They say to seek emergency medical care right away if a child does ingest a THC product.
“The effects can be delayed, so although a child may seem OK in hour one, hours two, three and four can be devastating for the child,” said Patel.
Patel says Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital is seeing an average of two pediatric marijuana cases a week.
“They could be toddlers, adolescents or teenagers,” said Patel.
Patel says symptoms can range from difficulty standing to a coma.
The American Academy of Pediatrics reports more than a 1,000% spike in pediatric marijuana consumption since 2017.