In the US, there are now more than a hundred states where marijuana is legal for recreational or medical use. As a result, people are buying and consuming edible products like thc gummies to experience the effects of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive cannabinoid found in marijuana and hemp plants. But edibles can be dangerous for kids, causing intoxication and even poisoning. This is a problem because THC, when eaten, takes much longer to take effect than smoking marijuana does, and the concentration and strength of edibles can be difficult to measure. And since kids are so curious, they can easily eat too much and become severely intoxicated.

The biggest issue with edibles is that it takes 30 to 60 minutes for the THC to take effect once consumed and digested. That’s because the ingested THC passes through the walls of the intestine, and how much food is in the stomach at the time also affects absorption. Then the THC travels to different parts of the brain to cause its effects, which may last up to 12 hours. That’s why it’s important to wait at least two hours before eating another edible and avoiding other foods and medications during that period of time, Stolbach says.

There are many anecdotal stories of children eating thc edibles and then having problems, from the amusing to the very disturbing. One story involves a teenager in Colorado who ate six servings of a cookie that contained 10 mg of THC per serving, and then began acting strangely while on spring break. He began to feel paranoid, and then jumped from his hotel balcony. He died, and police say that his death was accidental.

Other anecdotal reports include kids getting very high, having trouble breathing, and losing control of their bodies. Some states require that edibles be clearly labeled with the amount of THC they contain, but it’s often up to the store and baker to make sure that the label is accurate. This is why it’s important to talk to your pediatrician if you or your child have questions about the safety of cannabis.

THC has been shown to help with several physical and mental health issues, including chronic pain, anxiety, depression and insomnia. And as research continues, it could be used to treat conditions like epilepsy and cancer.

Parents should always store marijuana products out of reach, and be careful not to use them in front of their kids. And they should never smoke or consume edibles in their kids’ presence. Parents should also speak with their friends and neighbors who use THC to make sure they’re doing so responsibly, and that they’re keeping their products out of the reach of children. And finally, they should always drive carefully when using THC. Kids should not be allowed to ride in cars with adults who have used marijuana, whether it’s for medical or recreational purposes. The CDC estimates that more than 500 children are treated in US emergency rooms each year because of THC edibles.