S.C. sees rise in edible cannabis poisoning among kids

In this Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018 photo medicated High Chew edibles are shown on display and...
In this Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018 photo medicated High Chew edibles are shown on display and offered for sale at the cannabis-themed Kushstock Festival at Adelanto, Calif. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)(Richard Vogel | AP)
Published: Jan. 4, 2023 at 3:57 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 4, 2023 at 4:56 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - With the increase of the legalization of marijuana across a number of states and an increase in popularity, the number of children accidentally poisoned by cannabis edibles has soared in South Carolina.

New research from the Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics shows the number of kids under age 5 accidently poisoned by edibles has soared 1,375% since 2017.

Dr. Christopher Pruitt, medical director of the Medical University of South Carolina Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital emergency department, says those results are “unsurprising,” considering his team has seen over a dozen young kids suffering from just that over the past couple of years.

Pruitt says young children who get into cannabis edibles go into a state of minimal responsiveness, where they appear excessively sleepy and difficult to arouse.

“One of the things that folks find interesting or surprising about these products when young children are exposed to them, is it actually leads to what we call central nervous system depression. Basically, like a lethargic state, a state of minimal to no responsiveness for young children which a lot of people would not associate with products associated with marijuana,” Pruitt said.

Young kids are curious and bright packaging on the products can look enticing to them.

Pruitt says they usually expect young kids to make a full recovery if they get care quickly.

“Most children end up doing well in being supported, but it certainly is not out of the realm of possibility that if a child ingests enough of these and aren’t able to come to medical attention in a prompt manner that the effects could be dire,” Pruitt said.

If you have these products in your home, Pruitt says think about them like medication. Be aware of where they’re stored, and make sure they’re visually unappealing.