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Three teens sent to hospital after consuming suspected weed edibles

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Too much cannabis can lead to symptoms like high levels of anxiety, rapid heart rate, poor coordination, nausea and vomiting

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Chicago police are reporting that three 13-year-olds are in good condition after being taken to hospital after consuming suspected cannabis edibles.

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According to NBC 5 Chicago, the female teens were hospitalized on Dec. 21. ABC 7 Chicago reports the girls were all students at Gale Community Academy, where the consumption is believed to have taken place, and police were called at about noon on Dec. 21.

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Recreational cannabis is legal in Illinois, although only those 21 and older are allowed to purchase the substance at licensed dispensaries.

Although media reports regarding the teens’ exposure do not indicate what type of edible was involved or what symptoms the students experienced, overindulging in cannabis can lead to symptoms like high levels of anxiety, rapid heart rate, poor coordination, nausea and vomiting, paranoia and extreme confusion and memory problems, per WebMD.

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“Milder overdoses are typically characterized by nausea, anxiety, lethargy, dizziness and paranoia,” the article notes.

The Ontario Poison Centre reports there are a few possible reasons cannabis is more dangerous for children than for adults, including that most exposures in children are by ingestion and how the body absorbs THC in an ingestion is variable and unpredictable and children are smaller, so the amount of THC per kilogram of body weight is larger than the same amount for an adult.

Furthermore, edible THC products take longer than smoked marijuana to take effect, according to HealthyChildren.org, with peak effects perhaps happening three to four hours after ingestion.

American Addiction Centers Recovery adds “intoxicating effects can last longer than expected depending on the amount ingested, last food eaten and medications or alcohol used at the same time.”

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A recently released U.S. study looking at poison control cases found that adolescent cannabis abuse increased 245 per cent between 2000 and 2020, while alcohol abuse has steadily declined over the same period. More than 80 per cent of exposures involved adolescents aged 13 to 18.

A Canadian study published this past summer found that Canada saw a 6.3-fold increase in hospitalizations for unintentional cannabis poisoning among children under the age of 10 since the legalization of recreational cannabis.

Intentional ingestion of edibles, though, has also proved a concern among school-aged youth.

This past April, a child at a New Mexico elementary school shared THC-infused cannabis edibles with 14 other pupils.

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“The district is collaborating with medical personnel and law enforcement to investigate and respond,” notes a statement this week from Bernalillo Public Schools. All students involved in the incident “have been evaluated and are under the care of medical personnel and are stable,” while parents have been informed, the statement adds.

The same month, an unidentified number of students were given pieces of a chocolate bar on school grounds that they may not have known contained cannabis.

In yet another incident in April, this time in New York, CBS New York reported at the time that a student at Patricia DiChiaro Elementary School and two friends started feeling ill after the first pupil accidentally ate an edible thought to be regular chocolate and had to be taken to the hospital.

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A couple of months later in June, the Charles County Sheriff’s Office in Maryland reported school officials had informed the police that a student had been found with suspected marijuana edibles. The school covers grades six through eight.

At another Maryland school, this time North East High School, an 18-year-old student was arrested in September after being accused of selling cannabis edibles to fellow students for about $13 per square.

And just last month in Manitoba, RCMP officers opened an investigation after three children, aged 5 to 9, became ill after allegedly consuming cannabis gummies on the school bus.

While illicit market edibles often mimic popular candy and snack brands, and vary greatly in potency, legal products have THC limits and come in plain packaging with child-resistant features.

We’d love to hear from you. Get in touch with feedback and story tips at thegrowthop@postmedia.com

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