Friday, October 7 2022

As some Canadian provinces see an increase in accidental cannabis poisonings among children, experts point to the need to make edibles less appealing to children.

A recent study published by the New England Journal of Medicine On August 25, it was found that there had been a 6.3-fold increase in hospitalizations for unintentional cannabis poisoning among children under 10 in Canada since the legalization of recreational cannabis in October 2018.

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Dr Daniel Myran, the lead author of the study, said the average age of poisoning in children is three and a half.

“These are busy preschoolers going to places where ideally they shouldn’t be (in). They find something that looks very appetizing to eat without realizing that it contains cannabis,” Myran said.

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Myran said edibles in the form of gummies, chocolates or even cookies can seem very tempting to kids because they look like their everyday snacks and candies.

He said these edibles should always be kept “out of reach of children, locked up.” Legal products originally sold in child-resistant packaging should be kept in their kits until they are consumed.

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Increase in hospitalizations for unintentional cannabis poisoning in children under 10 since legalization, study finds

Increase in hospitalizations for unintentional cannabis poisoning in children under 10 since legalization, study finds

“There are different ways (adult consumers) consume cannabis,” Myran said. “For people looking to consume larger amounts of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), there are potentially other ways to ingest this THC. It doesn’t have to be in the form of a sugar coated candy.

According to Health Canada, legal edible cannabis has a maximum limit of 10 mg of THC per container.

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THC is responsible for how an individual’s brain and body respond to cannabis, including high and intoxication, Health Canada states on its website.

Although THC has some therapeutic effects, it also has harmful effects which can be greater when the strength of THC is higher.

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More BC Residents Using Cannabis Products: Survey

More BC Residents Using Cannabis Products: Survey – August 16, 2022

To further reduce the risk, Myran said marketplaces can design and reformulate edibles to make them less appealing to children to prevent such accidents.

Manufacturers may also try to limit the variety of sweet or dessert-type edibles.

“There are just certain products that no matter how you package them, no matter how you present them, (they will look appealing). Candy is candy, and kids will be interested in that,” Myran said. “And we don’t think it’s a good idea to sell.”

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However, Myran noted that cases of accidental cannabis poisoning in children in Canada are “still relatively rare.”

Canada recorded 581 hospitalizations for cannabis poisoning in children over a seven-year period, representing a broader base of less severe poisonings, Myran said.

The New England Journal The report, titled “Edible Cannabis Legalization and Unintentional Poisonings in Children,” compared three Canadian provinces – Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta – to a fourth province, Quebec, which banned edibles at the time. where the study was conducted.

Prior to legalization in 2018, hospitalization rates were similar across all provinces. However, hospitalization rates in Ontario, British Columbia, Alberta and Quebec jumped 2.6 times during the first period of legalization between October 2018 and December 2019.

During the second period of legalization between January 2020 and September 2021, hospitalization rates in Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta were 7.5 times higher than before. While Quebec’s hospitalization rate was three times higher, largely due to the fact that edibles weren’t legal in the province at the time, according to the study.

Changes in hospitalization rates for unintentional cannabis poisoning among children 0-9 years old in four Canadian provinces, 2015-2021.

Chart via Edible Cannabis Legalization and Unintentional Poisoning in Children

Awareness and responsibility

Myran said it’s safe to say that more parental education is needed, but the responsibility doesn’t just lie with parents or caregivers.

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“I don’t think you ever want to look at an issue like this and say the only answer here is for more parenting and parenting,” he said.

Current government policies are “doing a pretty good job of making this problem worse,” Myran said.

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According to Health Canada, cannabis products must be packaged in a child-resistant container and the label must contain the standardized cannabis symbol, the mandatory health warning message and include specific information about the product , such as brand name, cannabis class, (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) information.

“These measures aim to reduce the risks of accidental consumption and overconsumption as well as reduce the appeal of cannabis products to young people while providing consumers with the information they need to make informed decisions before consuming cannabis. “, says the notice on the Health Canada website.

Zach Walsh, professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia, said that in addition to safely storing cannabis products out of children’s reach, parents should also have clear communication with their children. about cannabis use when they are old enough.

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He said maintaining an open and honest line of communication with children about cannabis and drug use throughout their lives could prevent teen drug addiction in the future.

Although the overall percentage of people in Canada reporting cannabis use decreased from 2020 to 2021, more youth than adults who use cannabis reported changing their consumption habits during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Center Canadian Association on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA). Cannabis Legalization Observation Report 2021-2022.

The CCSA report indicates that there is also an increase in the number of youth and young adults using cannabis vaporizers.

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Parents should maintain an open and honest line of communication with children about drug use, expert recommends

Parents should maintain an open and honest line of communication with children about drug use, expert recommends

Walsh said parents often hide their cannabis use from children, but “kids always know they’re using it,” and this “secrecy further stigmatizes cannabis use.”

“That’s not where we need to be when we’re dealing with…teenagers and substance use, especially in a time when the stakes are so high with some of the white powder drugs and opioids,” he said. said Walsh.

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Walsh also warned against the overregulation of cannabis, which could lead to “far worse consequences than the direct effects of cannabis.”

“One thing we want to be careful about, given the history of cannabis, is that it doesn’t turn into some kind of drug hysteria,” Walsh said. “Because, as we’ve seen in the past with criminalization, panic and over-regulation haven’t protected children or anyone else from cannabis.”

Signs of Cannabis Poisoning in Children

Myran said young children who ingested cannabis would be uncoordinated and have trouble sleeping in severe cases.

He said people should get treatment quickly in the emergency room or by calling a regional poison control center.

“Because when young children ingest large amounts of cannabis, they can actually stop breathing,” Myran said. “And these are children who need to be supported in their breathing with breathing tubes and ventilators while the cannabis is metabolized or processed out of their system.”

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He added that parents or caregivers should disclose the situation to health care providers if they suspect their children have ingested cannabis.

A cannabis poisoning event can resemble a variety of other serious medical conditions and healthcare workers must “do other types of invasive procedures to rule them out,” Myran warned.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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