Children's hospital issues weed warning after flood of calls to poison line

Children's hospital issues weed warning after flood of calls to poison line

HALIFAX — Atlantic Canada's largest children's hospital is warning parents about the risks of edible weed after a flood of cannabis-related calls to its poison centre.

The IWK Health Centre says it fielded three times as many cannabis calls to its poison line last year than in 2015.

The Halifax hospital says poison centres across the country have reported increased weed exposures since recreational pot was legalized last October, most notably with concentrated cannabis products and weed-infused food, especially in kids 12 and under.

It says edibles look like the snacks kids love, and children can't tell the difference between a brownie and a brownie with cannabis.

The IWK is urging parents to take measures to protect their kids.

Edible cannabis products remain outlawed, but are expected to be legalized this October.

"Right now, there are no regulations for safe storage of cannabis products, such as child-resistant packages or warning labels. That's why it's crucial to store all cannabis products in a locked space or container, out of the reach of kids," Julie Harrington of the IWK's Child Safety Link says in a statement.

The IWK says all weed products should be clearly labelled and stored in a locked place out of the reach of children.

It also recommends not using "cannabis in any form" in front of children.

"Children are more sensitive to the effects of the active ingredients in cannabis," Laurie Mosher, clinical leader of the IWK Regional Poison Centre, says in a statement as part of Poison Prevention Week.

"Parents may not realize that children have eaten a toxic amount of a cannabis or nicotine product until they have symptoms, such as profound drowsiness and other serious symptoms."

The IWK says liquid nicotine exposures have also increased and recommends similar measures.

The Canadian Press