Kids Attracted to Medical-Marijuana Candy?

(Photo: Smabs Sputzer

A new paper in JAMA Pediatrics finds that a small number of children are showing up in Colorado emergency rooms having unintentionally ingested marijuana. It seems they are gobbling up their grandparents’ medical-marijuana candy. The paper is gated but Medical News Today summarizes:

As background information, the authors, from the Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Center, Denver, explained that medical marijuana has higher levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) than when used recreationally. They added that medical marijuana is sold in candies, soft drinks and baked goods. … There is concern that parents/grandparents may not disclose their use of medical marijuana because of the perceived stigma associated with the drug.


Alternative hypothesis: parents felt uncomfortable taking their kids to ER until the drug was legalized due to perceived likelihood of legal consequences.


The wording is misleading. Medical Marijuana and recreational use are not mutually exclusive.


The kids are more adversely affected by the sugar in that candies than the THC...


This really has nothing to do with Marijuana and everything to do with people not treating their medicines like medicine. Do these same people leave their prescription narcotics laying around? would they if those same narcotics were edibles instead?

This is a case of people being careless with their medicines. Kids are attracted to any form. Typically medicines aren't in a candy form and this isn't an issue. Do I suggest these people put their brownies in the medicine cabinet with the rest of their drugs? no. but i do suggest they don't leave them in the cookie jar the grandkids are going to expect grandma's chocolate cookies to be in.

In the end this is carelessness...and really has little to do with marijuana.


Do they leave their prescription narcotic lying around? Well, duh, YEAH. Or in the medicine cabinet. People come over to their house, rifle through the medicine cabinet, and make off with 'legal' drugs - neighbors, sons and daughters, grandkids and their friends - anyone! Which is why people are dropping dead from overdoses all across the land, doctors and pain patients have to jump through ever higher hoops to get pills, and someday many of us will be living in excrutiating pain because narcotics will be so tightened up. Get ready to hear "well, do some meditation, do deep breathing to take your mind off your pain, and take a couple of Tylenol, it's as good as anything."

Medical marijuana candies?? Idiotic.


Funny you should mention Tylenol. So, we've established that there have been a dozen or two kids taken to the emergency room in CO since medicinal cannabis was legalized in 2009. More than 800 kids overdosed on Tylenol in CO in 2006 alone.

In other words, cannabis is being held to a higher standard of safety than widely available legal drugs, despite a track record of safety completely unmatched by any other medication.


I have never been against the use of THC and other components of marijuana as legal drugs, but why in hell should they be packaged as candies? Would we package morphine, heart or thyroid medications as bon bons? What am I missing here?


Someday I'm sure that's what will happen, but for now its federally illegal, so manufacturing/synthesis has to happen on a smaller, more local level.

Dispensers are looking for a safer delivery method than smoking (bad for the lungs), so with what they have available the method that makes the most sense is edibles. If they had access to Merck's manufacturing facilities, I'm sure they'd be available in pills.


It's actually quite easy to put powdered herbs into gel caps on a small scale, even at home. I do it myself with turmeric, since it's cheaply available in bulk at my local grocery, but rarely found among supplements, and expensive when it is.

James M

Just imagine. Kids getting into something that can not directly kill them, cannabis... Take that alcohol!

Enter your name...

Christina Desforges, age 15, died from smoking marijuana.


A quick Google search shows she died of asthma.

Eric M. Jones

...and yet nobody was injured. Although I suppose it is possible to ingest MJ in a lethal quantity, such incidences seem virtually nonexistent. It is a zillion times more likely that being stoned might cause a secondary mortality such as choking on an Oreo cookie, or bad behavior of any sort.

Karsen Lynn

From my point of view, this case isnt about the stigma related to the drug but rather our lack of attention about medication in general. Most of us will leave tylenols and advil laying around in our household. Kids may ingest these medication involuntary but most likely, this event will not have any relative symptoms on our child. This candy of which THC is predominant is just another example of our lack of attention and lack of perception of the future. The appearance of this medication does not cross our mind as being more appealing to younger ones than any other source of medication. Therefore, only experience and traumas such as our own child ingesting this medication will open our eyes to what might be potentially dangerous to their lives.

Shane L

Anecdotally I've heard that a type of Russian landmine called the "butterfly mine" caused many injuries to children because its bright colouring and distinctive shape made it appear like a child's toy.