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Kids Accidentally Ingesting Marijuana Products

Chocolate Brownies on Parchment
Photograph by Getty Images

With the advent of more relaxed marijuana control policies in Colorado and Washington, there are surprising side-effects that weren't considered: accidental ingestion by underage kids. According to Time magazine, there were no marijuana ingestion–related hospitalizations before the states began legalizing medical marijuana, but between October 2009 and December 2011, 14 of 588 kids were seen at the hospital for accidentally eating a product containing marijuana. The act usually comes as a result of sweet and edible products such as cookies, lollipops or brownies, which are attractive to young children.

In response, many—including marijuana companies—has suggested making child-proof packaging for these particular products to keep them out of the hands of young kids. “We’re in this new age of allowing marijuana and we are seeing things we haven’t seen before,” says Dr. George Wang, clinical instructor in the department of pediatrics at Children’s Hospital Colorado and the University of Colorado School of Medicine. “We need to educate families to keep it out of the reach of kids. Treat it like a drug because it is a drug.”

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