Irish children as young as 3 being poisoned by cannabis “edibles”

A growing number of Irish children are being hospitalised after being poisoned by cannabis jellies, also known as “edibles,” according to a Pediatric Emergency Medicine Consultant.

Dr. Paddy Fitzpatrick spoke at length this week about the increasing risk to children from these substances.

“We have seen a significant increase this year in the amount of children presenting with poisoning from edible cannabis, mainly in the form of cannabis jellies,” he told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland.

“This is a big concern for us in paediatric medicine as these products are packaged and marketed in a copycat branded way, very similar to normal jellies or sweets.”

Dr. Fitzpatrick explained that while these edibles look, smell and taste like sweets, they can contain a large quantity of THC, which is a component of cannabis.

“Young children can easily consume large toxic amounts accidentally,” Dr. Fitzpatrick said, though he added that all children admitted to hospital for this had recovered.

“The concern is that long-term harmful effects are a possibility,” he said.

Notably, last month, two boys aged three and four were admitted to Temple Street hospital after ingesting jellies that could have contained THC.

“The symptoms are mild euphoria, some sedation. In more toxic amounts, children can become quite uncoordinated and start getting very sleepy and difficult to arouse, and potentially go into a coma or take seizures,” said Dr. Fitzpatrick.

“Anybody who is concerned about their children should phone an ambulance.”

According to Revenue, children were obtaining these jellies after ordering them online and having them delivered to their home.

In a statement, Revenue asserted that the “vast majority” of these products are detected in post depots by anti-smuggling teams.

While figures specifically for edibles is not recorded, seizures of cannabis products more than doubled in the year between 2019 and 2020, going from 515kg seized (€10 million worth) to 1.439kg (€28.6 million).

Moreover, The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) recently warned of what they call a “sinister attempt to sell narcotics in the form of sweets.”

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