What parents should know about “edible” marijuana dangers

Exposure of marijuana products to kids and teens has increased across South Africa since cannabis was decriminalised.

What parents should know about "edible" marijuana dangers
 Marijuana “edibles” are highly dangerous for children and adolescents.

Marijuana (cannabis) is now legal in South Africa for medical or recreational use. As a result, the availability of marijuana “edibles” containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), is increasing. Unfortunately, just one “edible” can contain several times the recommended adult dose of THC, and children who mistake an edible for a sweet treat can experience devastating overdose effects.

What is the difference between smoking and ingesting marijuana?

Symptoms appear quickly (within 5 to 30 minutes) after smoking or inhaling marijuana. However, symptoms usually only last an hour or two. In contrast, the onset of effects after ingesting marijuana in the form of food might take anywhere from one to four hours, and symptoms can linger for several hours.

Why are edibles so dangerous for children?

When marijuana is combined with food in an “edible” form, the most common overdose cases in children occur. This is because marijuana taken in this way has a more potent and long-lasting effect, especially in children under the age of 12.

In many cases, children mistake “edible” marijuana (such as gummy bears, brownies, lollipops, and other confections) for regular food and inadvertently consume it. Because of their size and weight, small children are in higher danger. Due to the severity of their symptoms, many young children who take marijuana edibles require hospitalisation.

What is marijuana’s long-term impact on a child?

Because it has not been thoroughly examined, the long-term effects of acute marijuana exposure on children are unknown. Doctors do not fully grasp marijuana’s long-term impacts on children following acute exposure since we do not yet have the study and scientific discoveries to know the entire ramifications.

What are the symptoms of marijuana intoxication in children and adolescents?

Symptoms can include being unstable (lack of coordination), sleepiness (ranging from mild drowsiness to inability to “wake up”), and poor respiratory effort (trouble breathing).

What tests are performed to determine if a child has overdosed on marijuana?

To test for marijuana exposure, a urine sample (also known as a urine toxicology screen) is commonly used, and it can detect marijuana for days or weeks after usage. Blood tests can be used to determine the level of tetrahydrocannabinoid (THC) in the body.

The significance of secure storage

Marijuana should be treated like any other medication or medicine, and it should be stored high and out of the reach of minors. Marijuana and edibles should be stored in their original child-proof packaging. Additionally, edible marijuana products should not be maintained or stored with non-marijuana foods.