Doctors see rise in toddler marijuana overdoses - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Doctors see rise in toddler marijuana overdoses

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PHOENIX (CBS5) -

Doctors at the Banner Poison and Drug Information Center are seeing a dramatic increase in the number of young children overdosing on marijuana.

In the most extreme cases, doctors say toddlers have been admitted to the emergency room comatose.

"I remember one case where a child ended up getting a lumbar puncture, a CAT scan. And about a day into it, a half a day into it, ended up getting a drug screen, which is something we don't normally do on a one-year-old," said Dr. Frank LoVecchio, who is the co-medical director at the poison center.

In 2012, the center saw 10 cases where young children showed signs of marijuana exposure. In the first six months of this year, it's already seen 10 cases.

"Almost all of the cases that I'm aware of are from the child eating some form of marijuana," said LoVecchio.

They're eating it because one of the most popular ways to consume marijuana today is in brownies, cookies and candy. Marijuana users call them "medibles."

CBS 5 Investigates visited marijuana dispensaries across the Valley, where pre-prepared candy and sweets sold for as little as $12 per batch. Under state guidelines, holders of medical marijuana cards can purchase 60 of the treats every two weeks.

One salesman said the human body metabolizes the "medibles" and makes them more potent than marijuana that is smoked.

It's the fact that the drug is cooked into candy that concerns doctors.

"(Children) can't recognize whether it's a real lollipop or a medical marijuana lollipop," said LoVecchio. "In an ideal world we would say, 'Make these things childproof,' you know. That's a first step that would be great."

Doctors at Children's Hospital Colorado say they have also noticed an increase in children younger than the age of 12 who were exposed to marijuana. There as well, most of the cases involved children eating the drug.

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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