Florida Mom Calls for Safer Packaging of Marijuana Edibles After Daughter Ate a THC Gummy
Florida mom calls for safer packaging of marijuana edibles after daughter eats a THC gum
Courtesy Morgan McCoy
On Memorial Day weekend, a 6-year-old girl ate a THC gum after mistaking it for candy. And now that she has fully recovered, her mother - Morgan McCoy of Pensacola, Florida - is calling for safer packaging of marijuana edibles.
It all started when McCoy visited their in-laws in Jacksonville with her daughter and husband. There were 30 or 40 people, and some of them were "legal medical marijuana patients," McCoy said in a June 1 Facebook post about the incident.
McCoy got out to visit her sister and one of the other guests jumped in the pool after her 2 year old child. The parent was fully clothed and had a packet of Faded Fruits Hawaiian Punch gums in their pocket; There was also a gummy bear in the package.
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The parents changed clothes and put the gummy bear in a chest of drawers. When McCoy's daughter was about to get changed, she came across the bag, "and like any six-year-old ... she ate the candy," says McCoy.
McCoy later learned that the gummy bear contained 50 mg of THC, the psychoactive compound found in marijuana. By comparison, 10 mg of THC is the industry norm, Morgan Fox, media relations director at the National Cannabis Industry Association, told Today.
McCoy returned to find the children asleep, and she wasn't concerned until her daughter's parents suggested "maybe they took a THC gum," she says, adding that her daughter couldn't open her eyes. "She didn't react at all and when I put her down, she somehow supported herself as if she felt like she was falling." Soon she started grabbing and McCoy called an ambulance for her daughter.
McCoy's daughter spent the night in the hospital, where she was monitored and given fluids. According to McCoy, her breathing rate sometimes slowed and her heart rate shot to "alarming levels" at other times. "I was up with my husband all night watching these machines," she says. Eventually, however, the daughter recovered and went home.
McCoy says it was "one of the scariest moments" of her life. "If there had been more than ONE [gummy] in that package, it would be more than likely that I wouldn't have my daughter today," she says.
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Now she is calling for regulation of marijuana packaging. She noted how the government “parental controls” a wide variety of things, from tide pods to vitamins, but does not include THC products. "We as parents stand by while these companies target our children with potentially lethal doses of THC," she said on Facebook. "THC is a DRUG and must be packaged as such. Period."
Safer packaging for marijuana edibles
McCoy's daughter isn't the first child to overdose on THC. In fact, the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) received 5,083 calls for marijuana exposure in children under the age of 12 last year. This is a sharp increase compared to previous years (for comparison: there were 2,767 calls on the same topic in 2019).
Marijuana legalization may have contributed to this surge in reports; It is possible that more parents are using marijuana or they are less nervous about calling about it accidentally. Another problem could be the packaging of THC products, according to McCoy and poison control experts. Many of them feature colorful designs and cartoon drawings that will attract children.
"Had the packaging been the way it should have been ... my daughter wouldn't have looked at it twice," McCoy wrote in the Facebook post. "There has to be regulation to prevent companies from doing such things."
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McCoy has reached out to lawmakers, organizations, and a civil attorney to make a change. And while waiting for an answer, she urges other parents to do the same. "We as parents stand by while these companies target our children with potentially fatal doses of THC," she wrote on Facebook.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a marijuana overdose is unlikely to be fatal. However, side effects such as "extreme confusion, anxiety, paranoia, panic, rapid heartbeat, delusions or hallucinations, high blood pressure, and severe nausea or vomiting" can occur. If your child has overdosed on marijuana, seek medical help right away. Call 9-1-1 or Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222.
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