French Children are Getting High… Through Passive Intoxication

Passive Intoxication is Becoming a Big Problem — French Children are Getting High… Unintentionally

For many cannabis is a miracle drug. However, in France, more and more young children are being sent to the hospital because of marijuana. It’s referred to as passive intoxication. Essentially it’s getting high on marijuana when you don’t intend to. This is undoubtedly a terrifying and confusing experience for many of the children who suffer through it.

France’s National Agency for Drug Safety conducted a study with some shocking results. Between 2015 and September 2017, almost 200 cases of passive intoxication in children were recorded in France. This is triple the number of recorded instances between 2010-2014. Even more alarming, the number of severe situations in which a child’s life is threatened has quintupled.

So what is the reason French children are getting high far more often?

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Irresponsible Parents

weed gummy bears, child eats weed candy
Your toddler isn’t aware that the gummy bears on the kitchen table contain 300 mg of THC… they’re just looking for a snack (image via Las Vegas Review-Journal)

There are no bad children, only bad parents. While I’m not always inclined to believe this old adage, it seems to apply to this situation.

Do you remember that time as a toddler your grandfather left out those putrid liqueur chocolates in his living room? You had no idea what you were getting yourself into. You just saw chocolate and did what any sweaty, pudgy fingered halfling should do. You ate about four and spent the next 15 minutes stumbling around his house aimlessly, rambling on about lego. You then puked on his dining room rug and called it a night… No? Was that just me?

It turns out many instances of passive weed intoxication resemble my tale of mistaken identity. Weed edibles often look like a tasty snack to toddlers. The past three years have seen a proliferation of increasingly tasty ways to get high. Cookies, gummy bears, honey… Just to name a few.

It turns out that four-year-olds aren’t aware that the death star you left on the kitchen table has 400 mg of THC… Go figure. In some instances, children will even confuse nonedible marijuana as a snack. Hashish or resin is often mistaken for candy or chocolate by unsuspecting kids.

With all these hazards abound, a cannabis enthusiast’s house is like a minefield for toddlers. It’s no wonder French children are getting high at such staggering rates. However, there exists another method of ingestion besides mistaken identity, that has also been responsible for the recent outbreak of passive intoxications… and this one is far more infuriating.

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Second-Hand Smoke

Dad smokes while holding baby, contact high in kids, marijuana
Whether weed or cigarettes, smoking around children is never a good idea (image via MedPage Today)

Some of the instances where French children are getting high involve sparking up around them. The dangers of second-hand smoke from tobacco are a well-documented fact. While cannabis doesn’t possess the same carcinogenic risks, smoking weed around toddlers is still not a good idea.

Young children are far more sensitive towards the active components in cannabis. The younger the child, the more susceptible. For this reason, 7 out of 10 of the marijuana poisonings among minors in this study involved toddlers under the age of 1 and a half years. While a grown adult can withstand the effects of a contact high, young children cannot.

But is the fact that French children are getting high an issue? Can’t they just go order a 5 junior chickens, binge watch Carl Sagan’s the cosmos like the rest of us? Turns out they can’t. Oddly enough, passive intoxication posses some serious health risks for minors.

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The Consequences of Passive Intoxication in Children

Like dogs, children are far more sensitive to the effects of marijuana. This can result in a condition called marijuana poisoning.

Symptoms of THC poisoning in children can include excessive sleepiness, agitation, vomiting, dilated pupils, hypotonia (floppy baby syndrome), respiratory distress, convulsions, and a fast and irregular heart rate.

In a minority of cases, (10% percent to be exact) children can even slip into a coma from marijuana poisoning. While a neuroprotective in adults, cannabis can be damaging for the developing brain.

Death from marijuana poisoning has not occurred as far as we are aware. There was one tragic, hotly debated case in Colorado in which an 11-month-old baby passed away. None the less, it is best that proper precautions are taken to ensure this never happens again.

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Conclusions and Precautions

No one would ever suggest that parents stop smoking weed. From anecdotal experience, I can tell you that some of the best parents I’ve known have been cannabis smokers. Undoubtedly, cannabis can help with the stress that child rearing produces. However, if you are going to smoke weed as a parent, proper precautions are essential.

Just as you lock away your Sambuca in the liquor cabinet, you might want to think about tucking away your 200mg gummy bears from prying eyes and pudgy fingers.

Smoking around young children is always a big no… regardless of the substance. Your children’s first time getting high should involve skipping band practice to hit bongs behind a school portable… don’t rob them of that valuable life experience.

Take the proper precautions and you will be able to enjoy cannabis and avoid ruining your children’s lives at the same time.

By: Stefan Hosko
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