UPPER ARLINGTON, Ohio (WCMH) – A central Ohio pediatrician said the amount of marijuana ingested by Upper Arlington elementary school students could have caused hallucinations.
Upper Arlington police said the Windermere Elementary School students ate high-dose marijuana gummies at lunch last Friday after a child thought they were leftover Easter candy. The five students were taken to the hospital for treatment.
A man has been charged with endangering children, possession of drugs, and obstruction in connection with the incident.
Pediatric Director at Central Ohio Primary Care Dr. Derek McCellan said the really scary part about edible THC is it resembles real candy and snacks.
“So kids of all ages, when they see a pill, they might not necessarily think to try it, but when it looks like a cookie or it looks like a little gummy candy, they have no thoughts other than eating,” McCellan said.
Police said after eating the gummies, the children started feeling nauseous and had begun hallucinating. They were taken to Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
McClellan said the immediate effects of marijuana in children can suppress functioning, alertness, and cause hallucinations.
Police said each gummy eaten by the children contained 50 milligrams of THC each.
“A kid with that size the first time getting that big dose, yeah, that’s going to affect them a lot different than, say, the parent who let’s say has been taking this regularly for the past three or four years,” McClellan said.
McClellan said with the resemblance of these edibles to everyday candy, it’s even more important that parents are storing them out of the reach of children, just like any other medication.
“It’s access,” McClellan said. “No different if you have cigarettes laying around or if you have beers in the fridge or a bottle of liquor in the cabinet. These are not things that kids should have access to and the more there are, the easier it is for kids to stumble upon them.”
McClellan said the drug can also have lingering effects on a child’s brain development, but that really comes into play when the drug is taken on a regular basis.
Upper Arlington School officials reported that all the kids are doing okay.