A recent preliminary study by the Canadian Pediatric Society found that a “significant” number of children had to get medical help after ingesting cannabis in the months surrounding legalization of the drug last October.
As many as 16 cases were reported involving “serious adverse events” to the Canadian Pediatric Surveillance Program (CPSP) from September-December, 2018.
The surveillance program defines “serious adverse events” as all instances wherein kids are harmed by cannabis consumption – including injuries that may result from use by another person, such as a friend or parent who is under the influence of the drug.
Out of the 16, 6 were confirmed cases of accidental edible consumption, with the drug belonging to a parent or caregiver in each case; 4 cases weren’t accidental, though the society hasn’t shared further information on them; data on five other reports wasn’t immediately available, including how the kids were exposed to marijuana, their ages and if the exposure was accidental or not; 1 case was of confirmed accidental exposure.
Among those hospitalized was a seven-month-old baby, whose case has further heated up the topic of edible marijuana packaging norms.
“The number of cases involving young children is alarming,” Dr. Christina Grant, a pediatrician in Hamilton and co-principal investigator, told the local media. “These preliminary results highlight the urgency of prioritizing the needs of children and youth in policy and education initiatives, especially as edibles become legalized this October.”
“Similar cases have also been reported in a few US states, such as Washington and Colorado.”
Notably, the study will be conducted until October 2020 to better analyze the trends following the legalization of edibles this fall.
Fearing such cases, CPSP had earlier recommended to Health Canada that any product resembling candy or “appealing to children” shouldn’t hit the markets and that the packaging include warnings about known and potential harms of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) to young children and fetuses.
Health Canada’s final regulations on marijuana-infused edibles, which are due to come into effect on October 17, 2019, require all edibles to come with child-resistant plain packaging and a 10 mg THC limit per product.