CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WRIC) — Blue Ridge Poison Center is sounding the alarm after receiving more calls of children who accidentally ingested cannabis-infused edibles.
Children mistaking weed edibles for candy has been a growing concern as more states legalize recreational marijuana, and as marijuana products become more popular.
The Blue Ridge Poison Center reported calls for children accidentally eating weed edibles had tripled in 2022 compared to 2021. The center received 77 calls last year compared to 26 calls received the year before.
J.M. Pedini, the development director for NORML, claims one of the reasons for the sharp increase in reports is because of legalization and a change in people’s behavior.
“When people aren’t afraid that they’re going to go to jail or be arrested, they’re far more likely to seek healthcare or to make that call to poison control when there’s been an accidental ingestion,” they said.
Pedini added that while cannabis is legal in Virginia for adults, there’s no retail access just yet.
“What we’ve seen in this absence of access is the proliferation of unregulated products flooding the market without any regulatory oversight,” they said. “They are often not packaged or labeled according to the same regulations that we require for medical or future adult-use cannabis products.”
UVA Health said more than half of the calls they received last year involved children ages five and younger, and most of them had to be hospitalized.
According to the healthcare system, children who eat marijuana edibles can experience rapid heart rates, low blood pressure, vomiting, and more.
“We know how to keep alcohol, cleaning products and prescription medication safely out of the reach of children, and the same common sense applies for cannabis as well,” Pedini said.