‘Edibles for small children may cause big problems,’ IWK pediatrics chief says

Click to play video: '‘Edibles for small children may cause big problems’ – IWK pediatrics chief' ‘Edibles for small children may cause big problems’ – IWK pediatrics chief
WATCH: The chief of pediatrics at Halifax's IWK Health Centre says studies show once cannabis is legalized instances of children's emergency room admissions due to accidental consumption rise. Jeremy Keefe reports – Jul 27, 2018

Brownies, cookies, gummy bears. Oh my.

Cannabis-infused edible products come in a variety of shapes, sizes and styles, and often resemble treats that kids love to get their hands on.

Recently, a four-year-old in Nova Scotia consumed 15 pieces of a marijuana-laced chocolate bar which resulted in a trip to the hospital.

READ MORE: Four-year-old rushed to hospital after eating marijuana edible: Nova Scotia RCMP

But despite the scary situation and repeated talk of public safety being their number one priority, Nova Scotia’s provincial government has no plans to bring in storage regulations when cannabis becomes legal.

“We believe through education and awareness, appropriate parental, adult care of these products, no different than they would with alcohol, ensure that there is a safe environment both at home and in their personal environment.” Mark Furey said to reporters in Halifax Thursday.

Story continues below advertisement

Although cannabis is set for legalization on October 17, edible products aren’t part of the equation. But even without their availability on NSLC store shelves, those who purchase the leafy drug will be able to make their own at home.

While government anticipates lineups at their locations and strong sales, they aren’t creating rules that would help keep the often harmless-looking treats out of the hands of young children.

“Right now there’s no regulations around edible products,” explained Furey.

“We cant control as we speak, the illegal environment. These are the elements of the illegal market that will be difficult to control even when cannabis is legalized. The legislation and regulations align with and meet the expectations of the federal legislation. We will continue to assure we are abiding by that federal legislation.”

WATCH: Dr. Andrew Lynk discusses the harm edible cannabis can have on children

Click to play video: 'IWK chief of pediatrics discusses the harm edible cannabis can have on children' IWK chief of pediatrics discusses the harm edible cannabis can have on children
IWK chief of pediatrics discusses the harm edible cannabis can have on children – Jul 27, 2018

However, studies completed in France and Colorado show a spike in children accidentally consuming edible marijuana products post-legalization

Story continues below advertisement

IWK Chief of Pediatrics Dr. Andrew Lynk isn’t sure Canada will be an exception to that rule.

“We are seeing children who are ingesting products even though it was illegal,” he explained. “It’s just that we know that when it becomes legal there’s going to be a lot more products especially edibles in homes and we’re going to see this go up.”

After the recent incident, and with less than three months to go before the law is changed, Dr. Lynk said emergency room staff at the IWK, and likely around the country, are gearing up for these types of cases.

“I think that it’ll come out through various national and provincial organizations to teach physicians and nurses to think about it, to recognize it,” Lynk said. “Also there needs to be an education campaign for parents, especially as legalization comes full force.”

Although Lynk said there isn’t evidence that a single incident can cause lasting damage to a child, in cases where breathing stops or another serious reaction is caused, negative effects can be experienced.

“Children who present to the emergency department, maybe about one in five can end up in the Intensive Care Unit and maybe one in 16 can end up on a ventilator to help them breathe,” Lynk explained. “It (cannabis) depresses the central nervous system, makes them very tired and lethargic to a point where they may not be able to breathe properly.”

Story continues below advertisement

Follow @Jeremy_Keefe

Sponsored content