As legal adult use cannabis has gained momentum throughout the country, so has the number of ER visits due to people accidentally overdosing on edibles. The alarming thing is that most of these people had no idea that they were consuming weed, and a huge number of these cases were in children under 12. According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, the number of these cases has skyrocketed from 187 in 2016 to more than 3,100 in 2020.
And why kids, in particular? Experts say it's due to the packaging - packaging that is colorful, and attractive; and sometimes identical to snack packages that are go-to snacks for kids. As a result, consumer groups are calling for more regulations and guidelines on cannabis edibles packaging, saying there is an urgent need to reverse this growing trend now.
It’s not only consumer groups. There's currently a bill in the Connecticut legislature aiming to keep edibles away from kids, containing restrictions on labeling, serving size limits, and packaging.
So while there are no known fatalities from cannabis overdosing in children, the reality is that these risks are the new normal and need to be taken extremely seriously. There are a number of recommended best practices that parents should follow as to how and where to keep edibles safe from children at home.
As the cannabis industry matures, we will likely see more regulations enacted across the board, similar to those of alcohol. We can expect to see more bills introduced, and eventually legislation passed to protect children from these risks, especially since these accidental overdoses seem to be on the rise with no end in sight.