Marijuana Products: The Impact of Patchwork Pot Laws on Kids

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As cannabis becomes legalized in various states, the accessibility of marijuana products to minors has become a growing concern. Particularly, edible forms of cannabis pose a significant risk to teenagers and children, with the number of children under the age of 6 who have ingested these products increasing drastically over the past few years. The blame for this alarming trend often falls on the packaging of these products, which can be confusing and enticing to young minds. Hospitals have witnessed a surge in cases of children experiencing adverse effects from cannabis exposure, including seizures and difficulty breathing. To address this issue, experts suggest curtailing the availability of candy and fruit flavors in edible cannabis products and conducting public health research to understand which products are most appealing to youth. Additionally, it is crucial for parents to be aware of the signs and symptoms of cannabis ingestion in children and to safely store these products out of reach.

Hospitals see more kids coming in for cannabis exposure

Thousands of young children have been rushed to emergency rooms between 2017 and 2021 due to exposure to edible cannabis products. This alarming trend highlights the need for increased awareness and vigilance when it comes to keeping these products out of the hands of children. According to the available data, 573 kids were admitted to critical care units, 1,027 kids were admitted to non-critical care units, and 2,550 kids were seen in emergency rooms. Unfortunately, there were also cases where care was refused or not sought, and the outcome remains unknown for many children.

Doctors and researchers have noticed an uptick in cases involving children coming in with seizures and difficulty breathing. This is a concerning development and underscores the urgent need for preventative measures. It is imperative that parents and caregivers take steps to ensure the safety of children in their homes.

Edibles flavors, packing pose a problem

One contributing factor to the increase in cannabis exposure among children is the way these products are packaged. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and pediatricians have raised concerns about the packaging of cannabis products, particularly those that resemble candies and other child-friendly snacks. The availability of these products in enticing flavors makes them especially appealing to young children, who may mistake them for regular treats.

Photo by Jeff W on Unsplash

Jurisdictions should consider curtailing the availability of candy and fruit flavors in cannabis products to reduce the likelihood of accidental ingestion by children. It is crucial to prioritize the safety of our children and take proactive measures to prevent exposure to potentially harmful substances.

A recent incident involving a Cincinnati couple highlights the dangers of cannabis products resembling everyday snacks. Their daughter was given a piece of gum with THC on her school bus, resulting in a seizure and a trip to the hospital. This incident serves as a stark reminder of the need for heightened awareness and regulation surrounding the packaging of cannabis products.

Federal Trade Commission’s actions against misleading packaging

Recognizing the significance of misleading packaging in the context of child safety, the FTC has taken action against companies that produce cannabis products resembling popular candies. Cease and desist letters have been sent to six companies, urging them to review their marketing and product packaging practices. While the FTC can only encourage sellers to make changes, this is an important step towards addressing the issue.

It is important to note, however, that the FTC’s ability to regulate packaging is limited due to federal marijuana laws. This underscores the need for comprehensive legislation and regulation surrounding the packaging and marketing of cannabis products, especially those that could appeal to youth. Some states have already implemented restrictions on THC levels in appealing packaging to mitigate the risk of accidental exposure among children.

Signs and symptoms that a child has ingested cannabis

It is crucial for parents and caregivers to be able to recognize the signs and symptoms of cannabis ingestion in children. If you suspect that a child has ingested cannabis, it is important to seek medical attention immediately. Some common signs and symptoms include vomiting, dizziness, difficulty walking, rapid heart rate, drowsiness, confusion, breathing problems, and, in severe cases, hallucinations, abnormally slow heart rate, and low blood pressure.

Prompt medical intervention is essential in such cases. If you suspect a child has ingested cannabis, contact Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222 for instructions, or call 911 and take the child to the nearest urgent care facility.

How to safely store cannabis products in your home

Photo by Elsa Olofsson on Unsplash

To ensure the safety of children in homes where cannabis products are present, it is crucial to adopt safe storage practices. If possible, it is recommended to keep cannabis products out of the home. However, if they must be kept in the residence, it is important to store them securely. Store cannabis products up, away, and out of sight, just as you would with other medications and potentially harmful substances.

It is also essential to avoid consuming cannabis products in front of children. This not only helps to prevent accidental exposure but also promotes responsible behavior around these substances. Additionally, it is important to communicate with all caregivers about the safe use and storage of cannabis products. Consistent messaging and adherence to safety practices will help mitigate the risk of accidental ingestion and promote a safe environment for children.

The increase in children ingesting cannabis products

The significant increase in the number of children under the age of 6 ingesting cannabis products is a cause for concern. From 2017 to 2021, there was a staggering 1,375% increase in these cases. This alarming trend highlights the urgent need for education, awareness, and regulation to protect young children from the potential risks associated with cannabis ingestion.

Parents and caregivers must be vigilant in keeping these products out of reach of children. The potential harm that can result from accidental ingestion requires proactive measures to prevent incidents and ensure the safety of our children.

The impact on hospitals and emergency rooms

The rise in children ingesting cannabis products has put a strain on hospitals and emergency rooms. Between 2017 and 2021, thousands of young children were rushed to emergency rooms for exposures to edible cannabis products. The number of admissions to critical care and non-critical care units is also significant, highlighting the severity of these cases.

Pediatricians have reported seeing an increasing number of children presenting with seizures, breathing difficulties, and altered levels of consciousness as a result of cannabis ingestion. These cases require immediate medical attention and often involve intensive care.

It is important for hospitals and emergency rooms to be equipped to handle these cases and provide the necessary care to affected children. This includes having knowledgeable healthcare professionals who can identify and address the symptoms associated with cannabis ingestion in children.

Packaging concerns and recommendations

The packaging of cannabis products has emerged as a significant concern when it comes to children’s exposure to these substances. The resemblance of many cannabis products to popular candies and snacks, coupled with enticing flavors, increases the risk of accidental ingestion. To address this issue, restrictions on candy and fruit flavors in cannabis products should be considered.

Jurisdictions must prioritize the safety of children by implementing regulations that curtail the availability of these flavors. This will help reduce the appeal of cannabis products to young children and minimize the risk of accidental exposure.

Furthermore, incidents like the one involving a Cincinnati couple highlight the need for stricter regulations on packaging and marketing practices. The FTC’s action in sending cease and desist letters to companies producing cannabis products resembling popular candies is a step in the right direction. However, further measures must be taken to ensure that packaging is not misleading or appealing to children.

Actions taken by the Federal Trade Commission

Dope ropes and THC Doritos: The Impact of Patchwork Pot Laws on Kids

The Federal Trade Commission has taken steps to address the issue of misleading packaging in the cannabis industry. Cease and desist letters were sent to six companies with products resembling popular candies, urging them to review their marketing and packaging practices. While the FTC’s ability to regulate packaging is limited due to federal marijuana laws, these actions send a clear message about the importance of responsible packaging.

It is crucial for both federal and state authorities to collaborate and develop comprehensive regulations surrounding packaging and marketing in the cannabis industry. These regulations should prioritize the safety and well-being of children, ensuring that cannabis products are not mistaken for everyday snacks and treats.

Safe storage practices for cannabis products in homes

To prevent accidental ingestion and promote the safety of children, it is essential to adopt safe storage practices for cannabis products in homes. If possible, it is recommended to keep these products out of homes altogether. However, if they must be kept in the residence, they should be stored securely.

Store cannabis products up, away, and out of sight, similar to how you would store other medications or potentially harmful substances. This helps limit access and decreases the likelihood of accidental ingestion. It is also important to avoid consuming cannabis products in front of children, as this can normalize their use and increase the risk of exposure.

Communication with all caregivers is crucial. Make sure to discuss the safe use and storage of cannabis products with anyone who comes into contact with children in your home. Consistency in messaging and adherence to safety practices will help create a safe environment for children and reduce the risk of accidental ingestion.

In conclusion, the increasing number of children ingesting cannabis products is a concerning trend. It is imperative that we take steps to address this issue and protect the well-being of our children. This includes adopting safe storage practices, regulating packaging and marketing, and raising awareness about the signs and symptoms of cannabis ingestion. By working together, we can ensure the safety of our children and prevent these incidents from occurring.

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