A recent study revealed that between 2000 and 2017 nearly 3,000 children under the age of 6 were admitted to United States poison care centers after ingesting marijuana. As the drug becomes more prevalent in society, so have reported incidents of unintentional marijuana ingestion. Between 2009 and 2017, the number of children admitted to centers increased by more than 27 percent. As support grows across the nation for both medicinal and recreational cannabis use, so has the product’s potency. For years, three percent Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) was the average potency in cannabis, but as plant growing techniques become more sophisticated, certain strains of cannabis contain 20 percent THC or more. Other products like extracts and concentrates often contain 50 percent THC or more. Marijuana has long been considered a gateway drug. Although it remains unclear whether increased potency has led users to move on to stronger drugs more quickly than before, in 2015 it was estimated that around 4 million people in the United States met the diagnostic criteria for Marijuana Use Disorder, and 13 percent of adults reported having used the drug in the past year.
Complications for Youth
These days, marijuana is not exclusively smoked and is sold in edible forms such as cookies, brownies and gummies. While smoking cannabis has always been appealing to young adults and teens, the snack forms of the drug have caught the attention of very young children, sometimes as young as 2 years old. Experts report that in many cases, young children will find their caretaker’s products and eat them, believing they are normal snacks. About 7.5 percent of the children admitted to poison centers needed additional hospitalization. In severe cases children showed labored breathing and needed to be connected to ventilators. Other circumstances have caused children to enter an altered mental state (AMS). “In general, acute adverse effects in a naive user may include symptoms of disorientation, impaired memory, panic, and anxiety. Physical examination findings may include tachycardia, dilated and sluggish pupils, injected conjunctiva, ataxia, disorientation, stupor, or coma,” the study said. If you are the parent of child who has ingested your cannabis products, but are having trouble cutting out your marijuana use, there is help. At Georgia Addiction Treatment Center, our teams of clinicians and drug treatment experts know that everyone has a unique story, so everyone should receive unique recovery treatment. To learn about the our levels of care, and determine which one is right for you, call an admissions specialist at 883-440-8644.