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Parents Warned to Keep Edibles Secure from Kids as Recreational Cannabis Becomes Legal

SACRAMENTO -- With recreational marijuana set to become legal Jan. 1 in California, emergency rooms are bracing for an increase in patients who have taken too many pot edibles -- especially children.

"Cookies brownies, candies that are marketed for eating and to taste good. So kids are naturally attracted to that," Dr. John Richards said.

Richards is a professor of emergency medicine at the UC Davis Medical Center. He says his hospital is getting ready for an uptick in cases involving kids ingesting marijuana after what happened in Washington and Colorado after those states legalized recreational cannabis.

"We're getting ready as far as our lab to be able to test this in a qualitative manner, and with rapid turn around to help clinicians both in the emergency department and up in the ICU and on the pediatric floor be able to narrow the diagnosis down," he told FOX40.

Richards also said it's up to parents to keep pot treats away from kids.

"Basically securing your supply, and realizing that kids love to get into things, they're very attracted to anything sweet," Richards said.

If kids do eat them, there can be serious medical complications.

"The most feared complication is they don't breath so they have to get intubated and be put on life support until the cannabis is metabolized," Richards said.

The packaging of the edibles could soon change to be more discreet. But Canna-Care dispensary manager Donald Davies says with more state regulations coming, some edibles are getting even stronger.

"There are extremely potent edibles right now," Davies said. "The industry is starting to use distillation, which is a form of making an extremely potent extract and they're using it to narrow down on other cannabinoids that aren't being regulated in the market."