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Mississippi seeing spike in number of children accidentally eating marijuana edibles

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The Mississippi Poison Control Center is experiencing an alarming increase in calls regarding children who have consumed marijuana-laced foods at home, causing illnesses requiring them to visit the emergency room.

In 2022, the center fielded 36 calls concerning the ingestion of edibles, compared to just two in 2019. 14 of those were in children ages 0-12, three for teens ages 13-19, 11 for ages 20-39, and six for 40 and older.

“In the past 10 days, we’ve already had four calls for kids ages 0-6,” Jenna Davis, managing director of the Poison Control Center housed at the University of Mississippi Medical Center said. “And statewide, these cases are underreported.”

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) , there is a growing trend in youth eating edibles nationwide. A study conducted by the AAP shows that the consumption of marijuana-laced products jumped 1,375 precent between 2017-2021, and that there is increased potential for significant toxicity.

The study also found that most ingestion of edibles by children occurred in a residence. Seventy percent caused central nervous system depression, and more than 22 percent required a hospital stay, including intensive care, the report said.

Davis expressed concern with the fact that youth have been accessing products containing Delta 8 THC, a naturally occurring chemical compound found in small traces of hemp and marijuana plants, being widely available online and in convenience stores at a higher rate.

Additionally, the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics (MBN) noted that illegal marijuana-laced products are being confiscated, but the department fears that Mississippi’s new marijuana laws could possibly produce an even greater increase in youth possessing and consuming edibles.

“Products like edibles, oils, wax, and hashish are still being seen and seized across the state. These products are especially desirable among teens and younger adults,” MBN released in its 2022 drug threat assessment. “Currently, medical marijuana in Mississippi is now legalized, but the implementation of the law and impact to the community remains unclear. These new and evolving marijuana laws make marijuana a new kind of threat.”

While some adults fear calling the Poison Control Center after a minor has ingested an edible due to potential legal ramifications, the center assures that information of callers will remain confidential

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