Cannabis in all forms is a drug, and therefore a poison risk for children. Cannabis edibles—foods, candy, or chocolate infused with cannabis oil—have become a popular alternative to smoking cannabis in Canada, and are perhaps an even greater risk. Often, these commercially-available edibles are packaged in bright, colourful packages that look to a child like any other candy or food packaging. If a child finds such a package, they can easily assume it’s normal candy or chocolate. If they eat it, they may feel sleepy, have trouble breathing, experience motor impairment, tremors, elevated heart rate, depression, and anxiety. In some cases, children need to be treated in intensive care units.
Keep your children safe
- To help prevent cannabis poisoning in kids:
- Keep all medicine and other drugs in their original, child-resistant packaging.
- Never consume cannabis in any form in front of children, either for medical or recreational purposes.
- Invest in a safe, a lock box, a locking bag or have a working lock put on a cupboard in your home. Make sure your child can’t see or reach this safe storage place.
- Put cannabis products away after every use, even if you plan on using it again later.
- Always throw away waste products like ashes, unfinished joints, or pieces of edibles.
- Ask your guests to store any purses, coats, or bags that have cannabis products in a secure place while they are in your home.
- If you use a babysitter, ensure they’re mature, responsible, and recommended by someone you trust. Ask them to keep any cannabis products “up and away” while caring for your child.
- Be aware that teens or their friends could bring cannabis into places where younger siblings are. Make sure youth are aware of the danger for young children.
- Be aware that how you store cannabis products should change as children get older. What’s safe storage for young children may not work for older children or teens.
If you know or even suspect that your child has eaten a cannabis product, call for advice immediately. In NS and PEI call 1-800-565-8161, in NB call 811 or 911, and in NL call 1-844-POISONX.