Laurie Mosher, clinical leader of the IWK Regional Poison Centre and Shawn Smith, a pharmacist specialist in poison information talk about the increase in number of cannabis related situations over the past few years.
The total number of calls to the poison centre have tripled since 2015.
“We went from essentially having no calls to . . . 24 calls in 2018 and already in 2019, in the first two and a half months, we’ve had 12 calls,” said Laurie Mosher. “So based on those trends, we should be having more than we had last year, it’s definitely going to go up.”
She accredited the rise in the number of cannabis-related calls to increasing number of people making their own home-made cannabis-infused products with a significantly higher concentration of THC that has psychoactive effects.
She also reported that with the inception of marijuana-legalization, more people are curious to know about the subject which has contributed in the increased cannabis-calls to the centre.
According to Mosher, a major reason why people get into trouble using cannabis is because of its improper storage. It is extremely important to store cannabis and its infused products in compact containers, away from the reach of children.
Many of the cannabis-related calls to the poison centre involve children under the age of 12 consuming cannabis-infused products.
“It’s been because the children ate the food product not knowing that there had been cannabis in it,” said Mosher, who has worked at the poison centre since 2001. “A brownie or a sucker, butter — it could be any type of food.”
While a cookie could have sufficient amount of cannabis in a regulated store, with homemade infused products, people tend to go overboard more than not putting in excessive amounts of cannabis.
A cookie infused with cannabis might not have any significant effect on an adult, while it might be highly impactful for children under the age of 12 with effects lasting as long as 24 hours.
It might lead to drowsiness, fatigue, light headedness and even seizures in severe cases.
Mosher says that it might be possible that you went to somebody’s house and they had cannabis-infused edibles which probably your child also ate. Now, after coming back to your home, there are chances that your child might fall down the stairs or lose balance and walk with heavy legs ultimately getting themselves hurt.
It is advisable to take measures as soon as possible if you are aware of the situation beforehand. Nonetheless, you can always reach out to poison centres and other medical aid institutions for a remedy.
In adults, consuming toxic amount of cannabis can cause rapid and irregular heartbeat, which can be fatal if you are a cardiac patient. Mosher advises to seek medical consultation before you consume cannabis or its infused products.
Centre worries over Liquid Nicotine
The centre is also issuing warnings regarding liquid nicotine, which is being widely used in electronic vaping devices. Vaping devices have gathered quite a lot of popularity amongst the younger generation.
“These are very concentrated products and it’s usually the refill they use to fill their nicotine device contains extremely concentrated liquid nicotine,” Mosher said, noting that liquid nicotine is available over the Internet and often comes in flavours such as peppermint and coconut that are appealing to young people.
The average cigarette contains about 12 milligram of nicotine while liquid nicotine usually consists of 36 milligram of nicotine in just one millilitre of liquid. This can skyrocket into the 100 mgs of nicotine per millilitre said Mosher.
Nicotine in such large amounts is not only toxic but can have drastically fatal effects on children and teenagers.
“Acetaminophen is our No. 1 poison right now among all age groups,” Mosher said, with the ingestion of sedative hypnotics such as sleeping pills and benzodiazepines the second-most common.
Usually, it’s simply a matter of ensuring that the person is safe and under someone’s supervision who can monitor them if in case things worsen. Otherwise, in serious cases, the paramedics are directed to the caller’s house to take the person to hospital.
“We do follow up, we want to make sure what we’ve recommended is actually working and will improve the outcome of the patient. That’s very important that we evaluate our recommendation.”