Last month Elizabeth Perry felt helpless when it became apparent that something was wrong with her 21-month-old son Oliver. “When I laid him down in his crib he got stiff and started to shake and cry,” Perry said.
Within an hour, he was in a Maryland hospital and doctors determined he had THC, the chemical in marijuana that gives users a high, in his system. Oliver had managed to open a box of edible cannabis candy that Perry was using to help him sleep. To Oliver, it looked like candy.
“My first thought was, I did this to her, it’s my fault,” she said.
Oliver, who had eaten 15 candies, is not the only child to have landed in hospital after consuming edibles. These cases are increasing as more states legalize marijuana and edibles become more common in homes with children.
The number of children under the age of 12 who ingested edibles at home increased from 132 in 2016 to nearly 2,500 last year, according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers. Those in need of medical attention have also jumped astronomically.
“If you are going to use these substances just realize that they are very appealing to children, they are often packaged in boxes or other packaging that looks very appealing to children,” said Dr Brian Schultz, who was doing part of the team. at the Children’s National Hospital in Washington, DC, which treated Oliver.
Oliver has since made a full recovery and returned to his normal state. His mother, however, is not.
“What’s terrifying is that I know if he found the candy he would eat it again, which is why it’s so important, I think, to lock it down and really put it out of reach.” , she said.