French pediatricians have seen an alarming increase in admissions for accidental marijuana intoxication in toddlers, reports Reuters.
Yearly admissions more than doubled between 2004 and 2014, found a new study in France, led by Dr. Isabelle Claudet, head of the pediatric emergency department at Hopital des Enfants in Touluse.
“I was surprised by the increase of admissions in my unit for cannabis unintentional intoxication among toddlers and by the increase of severe presentation after children had eaten part or [an] entire cannabis resin stick,” said Dr. Claudet.
Children coming to the pediatric emergency rooms have often come into contact with the marijuana products at home and experience symptoms such as euphoria, drowsiness, and respiratory failure.
Researchers suspect an increase in the availability of potent marijuana products in France may be driving the increase, reported Reuters. According to the study, France has the highest level of drug consumption in Europe, even though marijuana is illegal in the country.
The study suggests that parents need to be aware of the risks of accidental marijuana ingestion to children – especially those who are too young to know what it is, reported CNN.
“We have to also warn consumers and parents that it could be very dangerous for children to eat such products,” Dr. Claudet said. “Because usually, parents think it’s not very harmful because they’re smoking it, and it relaxes them. But if a child ingests one stick or ball, they can become comatose.”
Recreational marijuana is legal in eight U.S. states and the District of Columbia, and medical marijuana is legal in 29 states.
Dr. G. Sam Wang, a pediatric toxicologist at Children’s Hospital Colorado in Aurora told CNN, “Usually, kids get into things that become more available, and usually, that happens when it’s a household product, like those laundry detergent pods, which were attractive. It’s kind of the same situation with marijuana, where we think in states with legal marijuana, probably more households have it in their home, especially the food or edible marijuana products with bright labels, that makes it easier for kids to get into them.”