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Child-Proof Packaging: Is It Necessary For Marijuana?

By on July 25, 2013
Edibles present a higher risk to children who may not know the difference between a regular brownie and a pot brownie.

Edibles present a higher risk to children who may not know the difference between a regular candy and a marijuana candy.

TruthOnPot.com – Child-proofing may not be a top priority of many who use marijuana, perhaps for good reason. While over-the-counter medicines like Tylenol can be lethal when taken in large quantities, marijuana doesn’t seem to pose that risk. A green leafy bud also isn’t something that most children would want to pop in their mouths, although a chocolate brownie may be a different story.

Still, there are others who argue that child-proof packaging should be the first priority of all marijuana consumers as well as businesses that supply the product. And while a child can’t die or be permanently injured from accidently ingesting marijuana, they could still end up in the hospital with some familiar side effects, according to a recent study from the Rocky Mountain Poison & Drug Center in Colorado.

Published in the July issue of JAMA Pediatrics, the findings show an increase in the number of children admitted to the ER at a hospital in Colorado after accidentally ingesting marijuana. From 2009 to 2011, there were a total of 14 patients under the age of 12 that were brought in for marijuana intoxication. About half of the cases were related to marijuana-based edibles, such as brownies, cookies, candy and even soda.

From 2009 to 2011, 14 children were brought to the ER for accidental marijuana intoxication

From 2009 to 2011, 14 children were brought to the ER at Childrens’ Hospital Colorado for accidental marijuana intoxication.

Thankfully, Dr George Sam Wang, an ER physician and lead author of the study, said recovery was quick in most cases.

“They don’t need more than a day or two of hospitalization. There were no deaths or lasting side effects.”

While the children seemed to experience many of the same side effects that adult users experience – Dr. Wang described them as laughing, glassy-eyed or “acting a little goofy and ‘off’” – the rising potency of marijuana products concerns him.

“We are seeing more symptoms because some of these products have very high amounts of marijuana in them. You get such a high dose on such a small child, the symptoms are more severe.”

Although 14 cases over the span of three years may not seem like much, it’s important to remember that this was just one hospital. As more U.S. states and other countries move towards legalization, it’s likely that more kids will be at risk of accidental exposure.

The good news is the marijuana industry seems to be adapting quickly to the idea of improving child safety. Last week, Nicholas Kovacevich, COO of Kush Bottles, a California-based company that makes child-proof containers for marijuana, highlighted the issue in a press release.

“Dispensaries should start using child-resistant containers right now to protect themselves from liability and protect children from accidental ingestion. Businesses in our industry, which is still in its infancy, must take all necessary steps to demonstrate our commitment to running safe, legitimate operations.”

Many edibles are sold in simple containers that fail to prevent children from opening them, according to a statement from Kush Bottles.

Most edibles are sold in simple containers that fail to prevent children from opening them, according to a recent statement from Kush Bottles.

According to the company, most marijuana products sold in the U.S. under state law come in “simple wrappers or containers that fail to meet established standards of child-resistant packaging.” Since the 70′s, federal law has required child-resistant packaging for all products that “present a risk of ‘serious injury or illness to children under five’ who may drink, eat or handle the contents.”

While the divide between state and federal law on marijuana has caused friction among business owners, public perception is just as important. As Kovacevich notes, using child-resistant packaging may come at a higher price, but is still an “obvious first step to protecting the public and gaining respectability.”

Whether or not marijuana is as dangerous to children as other pharmaceutical drugs, there’s no question that adults should take responsibility to prevent accidental ingestion from happening. Healthy children are happy and giggly enough – it’s about time the marijuana industry stepped up efforts to keep adult treats in the hands of adults only.

  • richardschimelfenig

    Wait,
    all this angst is over 14 cases in three years? And, the author admits
    that not only were there no deaths or lasting side effects,the worst
    things reported were “laughing, glassy-eyed or “acting a little goofy
    and ‘off’.”

    “Since
    the 70′s, federal law has required child-resistant packaging for all
    products that “present a risk of ‘serious injury or illness to children
    under five’ .”

    “Healthy children are happy and giggly enough”

    Really, that’s the author’s issue?

    All this angst to make cannabis SEEM dangerous. Exactly what is the REAL “risk of ‘serious injury or illness’.”

    Odd that the author portrays laughing and acting goofy for a while as a risk of injury or illness.

    Good lord, people get riled for the stupidest things…

    • Helena

      Yes but the author also states that the figures are for one hospital. Sure it’s not a risk with fatal implications but surely we can do without any bad publicity. I think the author has a pertinent point of view, most parents are responsible and for the sake of a few pence for a container surely it’s worth it ? Anyway it would be a double whammy to end up at A&E for hours on end and then not be able to have a smoke when you get back, because your child has eaten it.

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