By Natalie Carroll, MS, CCC-SLP, Valley Medical Center’s Children’s Therapy
Since retail cannabis stores opened in Washington state in 2014, accidental marijuana/cannabis exposure calls to the Washington Poison Center for children 0 – 5 years of age have almost tripled: Between 2014 and 2019, calls increased from 519 to 1,529! Since the Food and Drug Administration has not approved the use of cannabis for children (with the exception of specific treatment for seizure disorders), it’s recommended families keep all cannabis products locked away from children at home, preventing accidental exposure.
Studies have shown that the potency of cannabis has increased over the years and is not currently regulated by the FDA. Because marijuana edibles can be extremely potent, it’s especially important to keep them out of reach of children. According to the National Institutes of Health, after consuming edibles, effects in children can range from slurred speech, stumbling, falling, lethargy, tremors, coma and seizures.
The “Not For Kids” warning symbol was created by the Washington Poison Center in partnership with the Washington Liquor and Cannabis Board, to help people easily recognize marijuana-edible products—it should be on all cannabis edible product packaging sold in Washington.
If you ever think your child has been accidentally exposed to cannabis, you should call the Washington Poison Center immediately at 800.222.1222, even if they seem fine, and call 911 if they have any difficulty breathing or pass out.