Accidental Cannabis Poisonings on the Rise at Upstate Poison Center
According to the 2022 statistics released by the Upstate Poison Center, the leading causes of poisonings across all age groups and children are due to exposure to analgesics, household cleaning products, and personal care products such as hand sanitizers. However, there is a concerning trend of accidental ingestion of cannabis products, particularly among children.
Center Director Michelle Caliva is particularly worried about edibles like gummies, cookies, and lollipops that resemble regular sweets and can be easily mistaken by children. Caliva cited an incident where a child consumed an entire chocolate chip cookie, which resulted in an excessive amount of exposure to cannabis.
In 2021, there were 364 calls related to edibles to the 54-county center, which surged to almost 700 cases in the following year. By January of this year, there were nearly 100 cases, prompting Center Director Michelle Caliva to anticipate the figure to surpass 1,000 in 2023. Whenever the Poison Center receives reports of children consuming edibles, specialists usually refer them to the emergency room since the children might exhibit symptoms like lethargy, confusion, or even seizures.
“We send little ones into the hospital all the time,” Caliva said. “They’re lethargic, they’re altered, they’re confused, sometimes they have seizures. I mean we don’t keep any child home who’s gotten into it.”
Caliva expects the numbers to continue rising with the legalization of recreational marijuana in New York State. She advises everyone with children to handle cannabis products the same way they would with medication.
Caliva recommends keeping cannabis products out of reach of children and suggests using a lockbox as the best option. She believes that all medications should be stored in a lockbox in every household.