SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) — With recreational marijuana shops soon expected to open across Central New York, some medical experts are concerned for one demographic. Dr. Vincent Calleo, Upstate Poison Center Medical Director, said children ages zero to five are most at risk for accidental exposure to THC products. With recreational marijuana now available, access could be easier for children than before.
“I think a lot of it is due to the fact that, you know, these products are simply more available than they were before.”
The number of young children exposed to THC quadrupled from 2018 to 2022, with a sharp increase in 2020, Calleo said. He believes that edible products, which can resemble candy and brownies, are partially to blame. The products look like foods that young children naturally gravitate towards and enjoy. Calleo warned parents to not use edibles, or any form of marijuana, in front of children as they become available for purchase.
“Children really like to mimic what they see their caregivers do, and so if a child sees, you know, one of their caregivers taking something out of a package and eating it, they’re more likely to do that, as well.”
Exposure to THC can severely harm young children, causing them to need resuscitation. In some instances, it can be too late by the time children make it to the emergency room, according to Calleo. Calleo stated that while the risk to young children remains higher than before, it can be minimized with common sense measures like locking away products and not using them with young children around.