‘It’s intentionally made to look for kids’: Doctors warn about dangers of ingesting edibles

Published: Jul. 20, 2023 at 9:52 PM EDT
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MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The differences between name-brand snacks and cannabis-infused edibles are getting harder to distinguish and doctors say this is creating dangerous situations for children.

Dr. Brandon Stransky, an emergency medicine doctor at Conway Medical Center, said kids see these products at home and eat them without knowing what they are.

“If you look at the packaging it’s intentionally made to look for kids,” said Stransky “They’re putting sour patch on them, they’re putting nerds, they’re making them bright and colorful. They seem to want kids to ingest these, so they don’t know any better.”

Dr. Stransky said that even though they’re seeing an increase in cases in the Grand Strand and Pee Dee, it’s a nationwide issue. An AAP Pediatric Society study showed a 1,400% increase in the past 5 years in ingestion of edibles for kids under the age of 6.

“In this area alone a significant amount of kids, high school and college students, come in with accidental ingestions and overdoses on these edibles because it’s something new, not well regulated, and not well understood by the people ingesting them,” said Stransky.

The Palmetto Poison Control Center in the Pharmacy School at The University of South Carolina has seen an increase in calls as well.

Their director, Dr. Jill Michels, said several very concerned parents call after their kids accidentally ingest these products.

“It’s increased from about 20 calls in 2020 to over 100 calls in 2022,” said Michels. “We’re still on track to get that much this year as well.”

Dr. Stratsky said if your children do ingest these products it’s important for medical staff to know what they’re dealing with.

“If they have the wrapper, they need to get the wrapper so we can understand what the dosage is, and then they need to bring them in for evaluation,” said Stratsky “Even just a short ER observation is beneficial because then we can see the monitors. If anything changes we can give them fluids, but understanding what and how much they ingest is really important. So if they can bring the wrapper, the container, the package, it’ll be really helpful for us.”