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More than 700 calls for children ingesting marijuana edibles in 2017 in US, up from 23 in 2016

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Marijuana edibles (Getty Images)

ATLANTA — Marijuana edibles are becoming a growing issue, and there is especially a concern about children getting their hands on them. Calls to poison control officials are up nationwide.

They’re taking up more and more space inside the Georgia Bureau of Investigation‘s crime lab. The tainted treats come in many varieties, including Rice Krispie treats, gummy candies, brownies and Goldfish crackers.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation actually had to get an extra freezer just to accommodate all of the food samples waiting for testing that are suspected of containing THC, the active ingredient in marijuana.

Nelly Miles, GBI spokesperson, estimated the department tested more than 400 samples of edibles since April 2016.

“The main concern is that a lot of times, these types of cases are showing up in our school systems,” Miles said.

The effects on children can be serious — everything from hallucinations, to paranoia, to vomiting.

“We have found, as the marijuana laws have changed, which includes legalization of marijuana in other states, we have seen more of these types of cases,” Miles said.

Georgia Poison Center Director Dr. Gaylord Lopez said their phones have been ringing more — with panicked parents of children who accidentally ingested laced cookies or candy on the other line.

In Georgia, there were seven calls to the Georgia Poison Center concerning marijuana edibles in 2017. That number jumped to 42 in 2018.

Nationwide, it increased from 23 in 2016 to more than 700 in 2017.

“This is what is going to be attractive to a younger generation, and this is something that we have to worry about,” said Miles.

Children aren’t the only concern. Edibles can cause problems for adults because it can take them as long as an hour to kick in. After not feeling the effects right away, it could cause them to eat more — and then the effects hit them all at once.

Also, if someone has underlying medical issues, it can be even more of a problem.

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