Although the sale of edible cannabis treats won’t be legal until at least mid-2019, plenty of cookbooks have hit shelves dedicated to getting high from all sorts of dishes. (Wikimedia Commons)

marijuana legalization

‘Lock it up’: B.C. doctor warns parents planning to cook up cannabis edibles

Children are more vulnerable to negative reactions to cannabis due to their size, and newness to its effects, Dr. Tom Kosatsky says

The B.C. Centre for Disease Control has an important message for parents who plan to explore the culinary art of cannabis-infused edibles at home: keep the treats locked up.

Although the sale of edible cannabis treats won’t be legal until at least mid-2019, plenty of cookbooks have hit shelves dedicated to getting high from all sorts of dishes.

Dr. Tom Kosatsky, medical director of environmental health services for the B.C. Centre for Disease Control, told Black Press Media that adults can take simple steps to ensuring children stay safe.

“Parents should keep any cannabis products out of the hands of children, so that means clearly labeling them, keeping them away from other food products, keeping them at a height and locking them up so kids can’t get at them easily,” he said.

Children are more vulnerable to negative reactions to cannabis due to their size, and newness to its effects, Kosatsky explained.

“People who are unused to cannabis are more likely to be sensitive to it than people who are long-term users.”

Symptoms can include abnormal heart rhythms, being hyper-drowsy, nauseous, uncoordinated, and not being able to see straight. In extreme cases, children can have seizures and depressed breathing.

“Kids can have really important consequences,” he said.

As for parents with teenagers, Kosatsky said it’s best to “make it hard for teenagers to get hold of it, and educate them in terms of what it can do – deal with it the same way you deal with alcohol.”

Earlier this month, a young girl in the Comox Valley was taken to hospital after eating a cannabis-infused candy. It’s believed she found old gummy bears discarded in the back seat of a vehicle before eating an unknown number of them.

In July, a four-year-old girl was hospitalized after she ate 15 squares of a marijuana-infused chocolate bar she found in the console of her father’s car. The recommended does of the edible for adults was one square per day.

READ MORE: From marijuana beer to pot cookies, Canadian companies creating cannabis edibles

READ MORE: Marijuana edibles won’t be regulated in 2018

Kosatsky said any edibles sold should be clearly marked “not for children” and include its tetrahydrocannabinol (or THC) and cannabidiol (or CBD) contents – two active ingredients in cannabis. Parents should also be aware of the appeal candy and other desserts have to children.

“Selling gummy bears is, I think, unethical,” he said. “Adults don’t need to take gummy bears, that’s clearly an invitation for children.”

Although the B.C. Drug and Poison Centre does not track hospital visits, it does track calls made to poison control. Between 2013 and 2016 there were 1,208 calls about cannabis exposure. Of those, 59 involved children aged 10 and under.

“Of the 59 calls that involved children, about two-thirds of them involved edibles,” Kosatsky said. “Two were to candies, seven to brownies and 16 to cookies.”

Kosatsky said over the years there have been an increase in calls particularly about infused candies.

After Oct.17, when cannabis officially becomes legal across the country, Kosatsky said he doesn’t expect to see an immediate spike in calls regarding edibles – but that could change once retail sales are allowed.

“I think there will be some experimentation of leaf that’s made into cookies and brownies – that’s been going on for years and years – and I think kids are going to get hold of some of those,” he said.

“Parents who are able to buy legal leaf who haven’t before should be particularly careful.”

If a child ingests cannabis or starts showing symptoms, poison control can be reached across B.C. by dialing 811. Kosatsky said the caller will most likely be told to take the child to the nearest hospital or medical centre.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Mill undergoing four-week shutdown

Canfor closing other mills as well

Smithers man receives two-year sentence for fatal car crash

Over a year after a fatal crash, a Smithers man has been sentenced to two years plus a day in jail.

First Nations push for massive conservation area in northern B.C.

Includes ancestral areas of three Kaska Dena First Nations, just shy of the B.C.-Yukon border

Tahltan reach benefits agreement over Seabridge’s massive KSM gold mine project

$308M agreement provides additional billions for Tahltan jobs, contracts

B.C. court to mull continuing order against Coastal Gaslink pipeline opponents

Coastal GasLink was granted an interim injunction in December following arrests and protests

PHOTOS: Elusive ‘ghost whale’ surfaces near Campbell River

Ecotourism operator captures images of the rare white orca

Threats charge against Surrey’s Jaspal Atwal stayed

Atwal, 64, was at centre of controversy in 2018 over his attendance at prime minister’s reception in India

Anti-vaxxer Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to speak in Surrey

He’s keynote speaker at Surrey Environment and Business Awards luncheon by Surrey Board of Trade Sept. 17

Otters devour 150 trout at Kootenay hatchery

The hatchery has lost close to 150 fish in the past several months

B.C. church’s Pride flag defaced for second time in 12 days

Delta’s Ladner United Church says it will continue to fly the flag for Pride month

Update: Two shot, two arrested at Toronto Raptors victory rally

The team and several dignitaries, including Justin Trudeau, remained on stage

Oil and gas sector cautious as deadline on Trans Mountain decision nears

Trudeau government expected to announce whether it will approve pipeline for second time on Tuesday

Skipping school costs a dozen B.C. students chance at a new car

Cowichan’s Jared Lammi showed up and won $5,000 cheque toward vehicle, but he can’t drive

People throwing food at a bear in Fernie alarms conservation groups

“Approaching and feeding bears contributes to habituation,” says conservation group

Most Read