Keep those special brownies under lock and key

Post-legalization, accidental cannabis-eating incidents putting people in hospital

EASTERN ONTARIO —The Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) is warning residents that while weed may now be legal, it still presents “some serious risks” to innocent bystanders — including “accidental intoxication” that may happen when cannabis or cannabis edibles aren’t stored securely.

Recent incidents in the region have put “a number” of people in hospital after inadvertently consuming cannabis, according to the EOHU. Marijuana was added to home baked foods that were later eaten by someone who didn’t know the product was spiked with pot.

“It’s very important to store any cannabis or foods made with cannabis securely out of reach or view. Children, pets, guests and unsuspecting or forgetful adults may unknowingly consume cannabis-laden foods that aren’t safely stored,” warns Robyn Hurtubise, manager of the Substance Misuse Prevention program at the EOHU. “If someone isn’t aware that they’re eating food with cannabis in it, they may also consume an unsafe amount,” she adds.

The consequences of accidental consumption can range from having a distressing experience, to health effects that require medical intervention, to driving a vehicle without realizing that you’re becoming impaired. Although smoking cannabis may produce quick effects, cannabis edibles can take up to two hours to take effect, and can last up to 24 hours for some people.

Reduce the risk of accidental ingestion of the psychoactive drug by taking the following steps, advises the EOHU:

•  If you have children that live in or visit your residence, don’t make cannabis-containing foods that are appealing to kids (e.g. that look like candy or snacks that kids enjoy).
• Store cannabis and cannabis edibles securely out of reach and view, in a container or location that can be locked.
• Always label foods that contain cannabis so that they don’t accidentally get mixed in with regular food, or get eaten by someone who doesn’t realize they have cannabis in them.

The Trudeau government legalized recreational cannabis on Oct. 17.



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