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Stony Brook Children's Hospital sees an uptick in kids poisoned with cannabis edibles

An employee displays a limeade-flavored cannabis-infused gummy candy at the Chalice Farms industrial kitchen in Portland, Ore., in June 2016.
Gillian Flaccus
An employee displays a limeade-flavored cannabis-infused gummy candy.

Stony Brook Children's Hospital has seen a rise in cases of cannabis poisoning in young children.

Over the last five years, 36 kids were brought to the emergency department for cannabis intoxication. Brightly colored edibles like THC gummies can be mistaken for candy.

“Most of the gummy dosages are built for adults, and children are not small adults, so they’re not able to process the same," said Dr. Candice Foy, a pediatrician at the hospital. "And they also weigh much less, so there’s less distribution for the drugs to travel.” 

Higher doses can result in hypothermia, increased heart rate, low blood pressure and difficulty breathing. Foy said there are lesser symptoms that parents can look out for.

“The most common symptom is being lethargic, being confused, unable to walk straight, speaking a little slurred. They do get the red eyes,” she said.   

New York has passed legislation requiring childproof, opaque packaging for edibles. However, Foy said keeping edibles in a home with small children is still not ideal. If there are edibles around, experts recommend storing them in a locked cabinet, and not eating them when children are present.

Sabrina is host and producer of WSHU’s daily podcast After All Things. She also produces the climate podcast Higher Ground and other long-form news and music programs at the station. Sabrina spent two years as a WSHU fellow, working as a reporter and assisting with production of The Full Story.