San Francisco – More than half of U.S. states have legalized marijuana for medicinal or recreational use by adults. This holiday season, California Poison Control reminds all grownups to practice caution when using or serving cannabis-containing edible items such as cookies, candies, pastries or beverages. These items should not be prepared or served where children are present in order to minimize the risk of accidental exposure for youngsters and teens. The risk increases with edibles because children love holiday goodies and brightly colored items.
“Children can be exposed to marijuana either by breathing in secondhand smoke or eating foods containing marijuana,” said Dr. Rais Vohra at the California Poison Control System’s Fresno-Madera division. “Keep your home and car free of the smoke, and keep food or drinks in a safe place away from young children or teens. Kids and cannabis don’t mix. Treat these products just like you would alcoholic beverages — use caution and common sense.” Edibles can contain high amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, the chemical that causes someone to get high.
“While adults typically exhibit dizziness, weakness, slurred speech and anxiety, symptoms in children can be more severe. They can range from sleepiness to difficulty breathing or even coma. Emergency rooms and poison control centers have gotten many cases of young children who accidentally ate marijuana edibles and required hospital admission due to the severity of their symptoms.”
Dr. Vohra says parents or party hosts should consume and store edibles responsibly, similar to alcoholic beverages. Keep cannabis products in their original packaging, and store them in locked cabinets away from children and teens. He advised that if there’s a chance a child has accidentally consumed marijuana-containing products, call the free 24-hour Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222 so a trained specialist can answer their specific questions and guide callers to an emergency facility.
Call Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222 (number is the same in all states) for help. Trained pharmacists, nurses and other providers are available to help 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The service is free, confidential and interpreters are available. Get weekly tips about safety by texting TIPS to 20121 for English or texting PUNTOS to 20121 for Spanish. Follow CPCS on Facebook and on Twitter @poisoninfo. CPCS is part of the University of California San Francisco School of Pharmacy and is responsible to the California Emergency Medical Services Authority.
# # #
Press Contact: Susan Tellem, APR, RN, BSN, 310-313-3444 x1; [email protected]