They might not be legal yet, but cannabis gummies and other candy are out there — and are one more thing for parents to check for Halloween night.
Last year, cannabis-infused gummies were accidentally given to a Victoria trick-or-treater, and earlier this month, a Comox child was hospitalized after accidentally consuming a cannabis gummy.
Dr. Tom Kosatsky, medical director of environmental health services for the B.C. Centre for Disease Control, said parents shouldn’t be unduly worried about the products turning up in their kids treat bags, but says it’s still something to watch out for.
“I’d look at the packaging around any gummies that are there and make sure they’re not packaged as cannabis gummies, number one,” he said.
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It’s a message that Fraser Health Medical Health Officer Dr. Amir Bharmal echoed on Friday when giving Halloween safety advice.
“At this time of year especially with treats we want to make sure that kids aren’t getting exposed to marijuana and some of its adverse effects,” Bharmal said, adding that at Halloween, kids may be at higher risk of munching on any candy they find in the home.
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“Make sure you’re storing any marijuana in a safe and secure place so that its out of reach of children who may unwittingly think its something to eat such as candy,” he said.
Kotsatsky said while he doesn’t think the odds of anyone’s kids being handed cannabis candy this Halloween are particularly high, he said it’s a growing concern for future fright nights, once the products are legalized and become more widely available.
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He said the B.C. poison control hotline already gets upwards of 40 calls a year from someone who has accidentally ingested cannabis edibles, and said he has concerns with the fact that they are sold in gummy or candy form.
“I can’t understand why gummies with cannabis should be sold. Like, why a gummy? Clearly that is appealing to a child. Even candies, if they’re sold, should not look like particularly attractive candies, but should look unattractive and be not particularly pleasant to the taste,” he said.
Kosatsky said if a parent is concerned their child or youth may have consumed a cannabis edible product, there are several signs they can look out for.
He said someone who has ingested cannabis may appear unbalanced and uncoordinated or unusually sleepy — either drowsy, or in a more severe case, asleep and unable to wake up.
He said in extreme cases, where a large amount has been ingested, a person may have difficulty breathing, but added that cases like this are very unlikely.
If a child or youth is exhibiting symptoms, Kosatsky said parents can call HealthLink BC (811) or the Drug and Poison Information Centre (1-800-567-8911).
If parents are very worried, he said they should not hesitate to call 911 or head to the emergency room.