JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Officials with the Mississippi Poison Control Center said there has been an increase in calls regarding children who have found and eaten marijuana-laced candies and chocolates at home.

The American Academy of Pediatrics this month reported data that shows a 1,375 percent increase in children’s consumption of “edibles,” or food products infused with marijuana, between 2017-2021.

In 2019, the center received just two calls concerning ingestion of edibles. But in 2022, the number of total calls shot to 36, according to Jenna Davis, managing director of the Poison Control Center housed at the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC). Fourteen of those were in children ages 0-12, three for teens ages 13-19, 11 for ages 20-39 and six for 40 and older.

“In the past 10 days, we’ve already had four calls for kids ages 0-6,” Davis said. “And statewide, these cases are underreported.”

Adult products laced with THC such as candy, gummies and chocolates appeal to children, Davis said. “We’ve seen ‘dope rope’ gummies, with lots of calls on those. They look like a Nerds (candy) rope.”

Davis said a child can eat edibles and not immediately show any distress or effects.

According to Dr. Geri Weiland, a pediatrician at Merit Health Region, infused marijuana candy can cause rapid heartbeat, vomiting, confusion, and difficulty walking. In extreme situations, it can cause respiratory distress and seizures.

“I advise that you put these particular medications out of the sight of children,” said Weiland.

The Mississippi Poison Control Center is available 24/7 to assist with questions and exposures regarding potential poisons, chemicals, medication and more. A trained professional can be reached at 1-800-222-1222.