East TN Children’s Hospital seeing more cases of children ingesting THC gummies

Local News

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — East Tennessee Children’s Hospital is the latest hospital to see a disturbing trend. The hospital said in the last three weeks, at least three patients, under the age of 5, have been treated there after ingesting gummies containing CBD or THC.

According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, 1,730 cases of closed human exposure to CBD has been reported to them as of May 31 this year. The center says 2,226 were reported all of last year. “Exposure” means someone has had contact with the substance in some way; for example, ingested, inhaled, absorbed by the skin or eyes, etc. Not all exposures are poisonings or overdoses.

“It’s really scary,” Dr. Joe Childs, Children’s Hospital chief medical officer, said. “These gummies that have THC … can be dangerous for kids. They’re putting these marijuana by-products into these gummies so that they’re easier to take for adults or more appealing to young adults, but then they’re dangerous for kids.

“They find them, they get into them and they’re going to eat and eat and eat because it’s candy to them. We have had cases of children that have gotten into these and essentially overdosed. It’s been life-threatening.”

Childs said the children have become unresponsive to a point where they forget to breathe.

The 2019 data from the American Association of Poison Control Centers also reports that the top 5 substances that children under 5 years of age were exposed to were: cosmetics/personal care products, household cleaning substances, prescription/nonprescription pain relievers, foreign bodies/toys/miscellaneous, then dietary supplements/herbals/homeopathic substances.

The interactive dashboard did not list 2020 data; however, the AAPCC said it will publish a National Poison Data System (NPDS) annual report in September.

The majority of cases were a result of an unintentional exposure to a substance.

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