Edible marijuana that looks like candy is sending kids to the ER

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Edible marijuana that looks like candy sending kids to ER

In Oregon, an 8-year-old boy was rushed to the hospital after finding a marijuana cookie at a park. In Michigan, two children were sent to the ER after getting into a man's stash of gummy candy containing THC, the main psychoactive component in marijuana.

Marijuana is now legal for either recreational or medical use in 24 states and the District of Columbia. But "edibles" containing marijuana are spreading everywhere, and kids are getting hurt from California to New York. Last year alone, poison control facilities across the country reported 4,000 kids and teens exposed to marijuana.

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Edible marijuana that looks like candy is sending kids to the ER
Marijuana muffins are seen during a march for the legalization of cannabis in Santiago, on May 18, 2013, as part of the 2013 Global Marijuana March which is being held in hundreds of cities worldwide. AFP PHOTO / Martin BERNETTI (Photo credit should read MARTIN BERNETTI/AFP/Getty Images)
LAYTONVILLE, MENDOCINO COUNTY, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 11: Samples of brownies with marijuana await participants on December 11, 2010 in the vending area of the 7th annual Emerauld Cup in Area 101 (name after nearby Highway 101), a new age center where the 7th annual Emerauld Cup is being held. The Oscars of the marijuana world, the Emerald Cup bestows honors on the best medecinal marijuana grown outside (indoor marijuana is not accepted) in the region known as the Emerald Triangle (Mendocino, Humbold and Trinity County), reputed to be the best in the world. 110 growers presented 136 strands, judged on four criterias: appearance, taste, aroma, and potency. A thousand participants attended the festival. Located about four hours north of San Francisco in deeply fotested areas, and bestowed with perfect growing conditions, the Emerald Triangle has become the marijuana capital of the U.S.. Made legal by the Compassionate Use Act, the Emerald Triangle's medecinal marijuana culture generates over 14 billion dollars annualy, about two third of the counties' revenue (photo Gilles Mingasson/Getty Images).
LAYTONVILLE, MENDOCINO COUNTY, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 11: Chocolate bar with marijuana await participants on December 11, 2010 in the vending area of the 7th annual Emerauld Cup in Area 101 (name after nearby Highway 101), a new age center where the 7th annual Emerauld Cup is being held. The Oscars of the marijuana world, the Emerald Cup bestows honors on the best medecinal marijuana grown outside (indoor marijuana is not accepted) in the region known as the Emerald Triangle (Mendocino, Humbold and Trinity County), reputed to be the best in the world. 110 growers presented 136 strands, judged on four criterias: appearance, taste, aroma, and potency. A thousand participants attended the festival. Located about four hours north of San Francisco in deeply fotested areas, and bestowed with perfect growing conditions, the Emerald Triangle has become the marijuana capital of the U.S.. Made legal by the Compassionate Use Act, the Emerald Triangle's medecinal marijuana culture generates over 14 billion dollars annualy, about two third of the counties' revenue (photo Gilles Mingasson/Getty Images).
ASPEN, CO - APRIL 18: Marijuana-infused cookies called 'Medibles' are displayed at the Cannabis Crown 2010 expo April 18, 2010 in Aspen, Colorado. Cannabis Crown 2010 is hosting hundreds of marijuana-industry vendors and thousands of marijuana users in two hotels in the resort town of Aspen, as well as holding a hemp fashion show and a marijuana-quality judging. Colorado, one of 14 states to allow use of medical marijuana, has experienced an explosion in marijuana dispensaries, trade shows and related businesses in the last year as marijuana use becomes more mainstream. (Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 25: A baked food made of marijuana is seen at Perennial Holistic Wellness Center medical marijuana dispensary, which opened in 2006, on July 25, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. The Los Angeles City Council has unanimously voted to ban storefront medical marijuana dispensaries and to order them to close or face legal action. The council also voted to instruct staff to draw up a separate ordinance for consideration in about three months that might allow dispensaries that existed before a 2007 moratorium on new dispensaries to continue to operate. It is estimated that Los Angeles has about one thousand such facilities. The ban does not prevent patients or cooperatives of two or three people to grow their own in small amounts. Californians voted to legalize medical cannabis use in 1996, clashing with federal drug laws. The state Supreme Court is expected to consider ruling on whether cities can regulate and ban dispensaries. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - JANUARY 1: Employees restock edibles at Denver Kush Club in Denver, Colorado on January 1, 2014. The first legal sales of marijuana in the world took place in Colorado on Wednesday morning. (Photo by Seth McConnell/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
View of marijuana cupcakes for sale during a march for its decriminalization at Mayo square, in Buenos Aires, on May 4, 2013, in the framework of the Marijuana World Day. AFP PHOTO / Alejandro PAGNI (Photo credit should read ALEJANDRO PAGNI/AFP/Getty Images)
Various sauces made with medical marijuana sit on display at Palliative Health Center in San Jose, California, U.S., on Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013. The dispensary, which provides monthly classes on cooking with marijuana-infused products, draws tech workers from employers including Adobe Systems Inc., EBay Inc., Cisco Systems Inc., Hewlett-Packard Co. and Applied Materials Inc., according to Ernie Arreola, the assistant manager. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
An instant brownie mix by Blazin' Brownies sits on display during the Champs Trade Show in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., on Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014. Champs is a business-to-business expo for distributors of smoking-related paraphernalia. Photographer: Jacob Kepler/Bloomberg via Getty Images
LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 25: Gummy candy stars made of marijuana are seen at Perennial Holistic Wellness Center medical marijuana dispensary, which opened in 2006, on July 25, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. The Los Angeles City Council has unanimously voted to ban storefront medical marijuana dispensaries and to order them to close or face legal action. The council also voted to instruct staff to draw up a separate ordinance for consideration in about three months that might allow dispensaries that existed before a 2007 moratorium on new dispensaries to continue to operate. It is estimated that Los Angeles has about one thousand such facilities. The ban does not prevent patients or cooperatives of two or three people to grow their own in small amounts. Californians voted to legalize medical cannabis use in 1996, clashing with federal drug laws. The state Supreme Court is expected to consider ruling on whether cities can regulate and ban dispensaries. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
Individually-packaged and labeled products offered by Ganja Gourmet in Denver, Colorado, include marijuana-infused baked goods, such as this almond horseshoe, seen here in the business's retail space on April 17, 2013. (Dustin Bradford/MCT via Getty Images)
DENVER, CO. - DECEMBER 04: Mountain High Suckers are infused edibles sold at 3-D Denver Discreet Dispensary in Denver, CO December 04, 2013. (Photo By Craig F. Walker / The Denver Post)
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"This is extremely dangerous," Dr. Robert Glatter, an emergency room physician at New York City's Lenox Hill Hospital, told TODAY national investigative correspondent Jeff Rossen. "When young children get ahold of these products, they can have severe reactions, including nausea, vomiting, disorientation, anxiety-like reactions and even psychotic reactions that can make them do things they wouldn't normally do."

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The Rossen Reports team legally purchased edibles in Denver, then challenged kids and parents alike to tell the difference between them and regular candy. The results were revealing.

"You have little kids that accidentally get into this stuff; they don't know any better," said Sgt. Jim Gerhardt of the Colorado Drug Investigators Association. "Or a baby sitter might give a child something out of the pantry, not realizing what it is. Those accidental issues are on the rise, and it's a big problem."

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Police warn that kids could end up bringing edibles to school and sharing them with their friends, unaware of what they really are. So even if they aren't in your home, your children could accidentally ingest them.

"Kids are going to be enticed by this," Gerhardt said. "They're going to want to get into this stuff. Banning it's the only way to deal with it."

Call Poison Control to talk to an expert: 1-800-222-1222.

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