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My Toddler Just Ate My Weed. What Now?

The downside to legal, easily-acquired edibles: they look delicious (especially when you’re confined at home)

Oh no. Oh shit. Your weed is all gone, and your kid isn’t looking too well, and Christ, it’s going to be quite a day.

This scenario, distressing for at least two reasons (1: unwell child; 2: no weed left), is on the rise. As more and more states legalize weed, there’s a higher chance of it lying around the house in some sort of delicious-looking form. No kid is going to chow down on a jar of actual weed weed — it tastes nasty. But a brownie, cookies or gummies in cute packaging? Yeah, they’ll eat them. 

And then they’ll get high. Real high.

The thing with kids is, they’re pretty small. This means a smaller amount of any kind of drug, medication or psychoactive substance goes a much longer way. Two ounces of wine would put a toddler over the legal limit for driving, for instance (although if your toddler is driving your car, the biggest issue probably isn’t that they’re half in the bag).

A toddler who finds themselves inadvertently extremely high is likely to, justifiably enough, be fairly terrified: “I ate one of mommy’s special candies and now AAAAH AAAAAH AAAAAAAH AAAAAAAAAAH!” It can take a while for the effects to kick in from edibles, too, so it can be easy enough to just think everything’s turned scary. (The silver lining on the toddler-full-of-weed cloud? At least eating is less bad than smoking. Even secondhand marijuana smoke is pretty awful for kids’ health, leading to conditions like bronchiolitis.) 

According to the Center on Addiction, after consuming edibles, effects in children “can range from lethargy, difficulty concentrating and slurred speech to respiratory depression and even seizures.” If your toddler eats your weed, you’re advised to call Poison Control even if they seem fine, and opt for 911 if they have any difficulty breathing or pass out. 

It’s natural to worry about getting in trouble and Child Protective Services getting involved, but you’ve got to put the safety of your child first. Plus, what’s going to impress CPS less: accidentally letting your kid eat something they shouldn’t and then doing everything you can to make things right, or panicking and trying to pretend your terrified, high-as-shit kid is fine? There’s a difference between a child ingeniously breaking into somewhere you’d swear they’d never be able to access and, “Oh shit, I left all that weed in my kid’s room, bet they’ve eaten it.”

And it’s happening a lot. That said, nobody’s quite used to it yet. I mean, what’s the weed brownies equivalent of grandpa’s liquor cabinet or a lockbox hidden out of sight? A secret under-the-bed mini-fridge? “Regulators need to be especially aware of how appealing marijuana-laced candies and cookies look to children and adolescents,” says Colleen Barry, an associate professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at Johns Hopkins University and co-author of the paper “Keeping Legalized Marijuana Out of Hands of Kids.”

A four-year-old in Nova Scotia was hospitalized after eating 15 times the recommended daily adult dose of marijuana chocolate. In a school in Albuquerque, five fifth graders were taken to the school nurse with suspected food poisoning, only to find the culprit was a box of edible gummies a nine-year-old girl had brought in to share with her friends. (Don’t totally blame legal weed, though. A long-term study in France — where it remains illegal — found a 13-fold rise in the amount of unintentional cannabis overdoses over an 11-year period, including 38 cases where the victims ended up comatose. The study attributed the rise to increasingly high levels of THC in smuggled resin. That doesn’t even taste nice.)

So just… keep your weed away from your kids. Odds are you’ve got other stuff in your house you’d rather keep away from prying little eyes, and keeping your brownies unrefrigerated in the same drawer as Sex Things is a small price to pay for both legal weed and your child’s safety.