Report: Number of kids accidentally eating edible marijuana in central/SW Virginia nearly triples

Published: Jan. 18, 2023 at 6:46 AM EST
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WDBJ) - A new report finds the number of kids accidentally eating edible marijuana products in central and Southwest Virginia nearly tripled this past year.

The report came from the UVA Health’s Blue Ridge Poison Center.

The center’s medical director said most of these cases are toddlers or young children eating the edible marijuana because they think it’s candy.

“It’s a mind-altering substance and it’s going to alter their thought process, so we see kids who are kinda confused, could initially be agitated, they’re not walking well and as time goes on, they actually become very somnolent to the point where there may be issues where there’s concerns about their airway. Their heart rates get really fast and this can last for some time. We’ve had a number of these kids who are hospitalized and a number of them have had to be admitted to the critical care units, so they can be dangerous,” said Chris Holstege, MD, UVA Health’s Blue Ridge Poison Center’s Medical Director.

Doctors said they were surprised with how fast they saw the number of calls increase in 2022. In 2021, there were 26 calls to the Blue Ridge Poison Center, which serves central and southwest Virginia.

In 2022, there were 77 calls. 52 of those calls were for children ages zero to five, with many of those kids requiring hospitalization.

“You know, one piece can be a problem, if there’s a lot more milligrams than what you think, but even 25 milligrams in a child, that’s a problem and if you eat a number of those pieces, that’s really problematic,” said Holstege.

He said the best way to prevent this, if you have any of these products, is to keep them away from where children can reach them or put them in child-proof containers.

If you do believe your child has consumed the edible marijuana products, you should call the number for poison control, 1-800-222-1222. They can walk you through what to do next.