How Parents Can be Proactive When it Comes to Edibles and Children

July 19, 2021 08:00 am ET Estimated Read Time: 4 Minutes
How Parents Can be Proactive When it Comes to Edibles and Children

It seems like every day, news outlets have a new report about a child accidentally consuming cannabis edibles. Widespread legalization may have contributed to an increase in these incidents and it’s certainly not helping cannabis destigmatization. If cannabis consumers get a bad rap in general, being a parent that consumes cannabis is even more magnified. Parents have an even greater duty to promote responsible consumption. Let’s explore some ways that parents can be proactive when it comes to utilizing edibles when there are children or minors in the vicinity.

Unregulated Cannabis Edible Packaging is an Issue

One of the big issues contributing to the numerous reports of children consuming edibles is the fact that many of these products are illegally packaged in a copycat branded way that’s very similar to mainstream candies and snacks that you’d find in the grocery store. Ultimately, these increasing incidents need to be made known so that we, the adults, can take measures to reduce the number of these occurrences. Packaging is a great example of this.

Dr. Paddy Fitzpatrick, a Pediatric Emergency Medicine Consultant, explains that children could easily consume large amounts of edible gummies due to the fact that they look like sweets, smell like sweets, and even taste like sweets. Additionally, we can not leave it up to children to discern between store-bought gummies and copycat edible gummies. The differences in packaging are slight but to a kid, they can look indistinguishable. 

Commenting on the numerous children coming into the hospital for care, Dr. Fitzpatrick stated that “thankfully the children we have seen have all made full recoveries”. He also added that the children they have treated were mostly under the age of 10 years. He stated that the “symptoms are mild euphoria, some sedation” but recommends that parents call an ambulance if their child has accidentally consumed a large number of edibles, especially high THC edible products. 

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There are some extreme instances where minors legitimately need medical cannabis. Otherwise, children and teens should not be recreationally consuming cannabis products or be able to access them. According to statistics, the spread of legalization has not influenced a related increase in teen cannabis use. However, as long as there are children and teenagers on this earth, there will also be a percentage of them that are drawn to rebel. If you discover your child or teen illegally purchasing cannabis products, do your part to educate them of the consequences of the law as well as their health.

How Parents Can be Proactive When it Comes to Edibles and Children

It cannot be emphasized enough that any parent who utilizes cannabis has an even greater duty to promote responsible consumption. Even if parents aren’t consumers, it’s still worth placing great value on teaching their children how to be conscientious when it comes to cannabis. That way, when they grow up to be adults, they will be adequately prepared to make that decision on their own accord in a responsible way. It will also help them avoid accidents along the way, such as unintentionally eating cannabis edibles. As always, parents should remain vigilant about any behavioral changes within their children especially if there is cannabis in the household.

Additionally, parents who are purchasing cannabis edibles should take care to track package quantity. Once the parents or adults have their edibles in hand, it is important to store them in an inaccessible location for children. It’d also be wise to consider teaching children how to read labels and packaging. In legal areas, the packaging for cannabis products is strictly regulated and there are specific symbols and information that reflect THC and other cannabinoid content. Meanwhile, avoid purchasing products with obvious knock-off packaging. If you do, take efforts to put the products in a different labeled package or keep it out of sight and locked away to decrease the risk. And if you make your own edibles, doing your due diligence in keeping them out of reach and properly labeled will be imperative. 

One should remember that the culprits who are packaging cannabis edibles like regular store-bought sweets do not care about the possibility of the product ending up in the hands of vulnerable persons like children. Dr. Pamela Byrne suggests that “people should only ever buy food from reputable sources and check the food labels”- the same could be said about buying edibles as in only buy edibles with the proper warning labels, moderate potency, and with its own packaging that does not resemble that of other brands. 

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