Toddler hospitalized after eating cake pop made with cannabis

A three-year-old overdosed after eating cannabis cake pop.
A Toledo child overdosed on cannabis after mistakenly eating a THC-laced cake pop from a Florida store.
Published: Jan. 10, 2022 at 6:12 PM EST
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - A Toledo mom is sending out a warning to other parents after her toddler ended up in the hospital after accidentally eating a cake pop made with cannabis.

While on vacation in Florida last month, Rebecca Villarreal said she noticed something was wrong with her 3-year-old son, Emilio.

“I knew right away that something wasn’t right, you just know your kid, you know what I mean?” said Villarreal.

After dinner one night, she says her family stopped for a treat at Groovy Smoothie in Tarpon Springs. According to their Facebook page, the store sells items such as fruit bowls, juices, and smoothies with the choice of being infused with cannabis.

Villarreal claims an employee offered to make them a smoothie without cannabis in it that was safe for children to consume.

“I told her I thought it was just a smoothie store. She said, ‘No, no, it’s OK. I can still make a smoothie for the kids,’” explained Villarreal.

Meanwhile, her 3-year-old son asked for a cake pop from a refrigerator that was labeled as a “kid-friendly cake pop.”

“Ten minutes later, it triggered him,” said Villarreal. “He fell asleep on the car ride home and we put him to bed. When he woke up he was screaming and crying.”

That’s when she rushed her son to Advent Health North Pinellas Hospital. The diagnosis was accidental marijuana overdose.

“He was shaking and twitching the whole time in the hospital. They took a CT scan to make sure it wasn’t a seizure, and thank God it wasn’t,” Villarreal said.

Turns out, the cake pop was made with 100mg of THC, which is the active ingredient in marijuana that makes users high.

Dr. Ateeq Hasseb, who is a pediatric neurologist with Mercy Health, explained that according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, the number of children under 12 who have ingested edibles jumped from 132 in 2016 to almost 2,500 last year.

He added that the higher the level of THC, the symptoms are more severe.

“Symptoms can range from high blood pressure, seizures could happen, and when you start going to higher levels, respirations can be affected,” said Hasseb. “What would happen if someone doesn’t breathe the right way? You could damage the brain.”

Villarreal tells 13abc an employee accidentally placed a THC cake pop in the “kid-friendly” area and the owner of Groovy Smoothie gave them a card that read in part, “We sincerely apologize and hope you get well soon.”

Villarreal adds that the owner claimed she would make changes to the protocol, including holding a staff meeting and putting a lock on the refrigerator door, however when Villarreal went back the next day no changes were made.

“To me, I don’t think she even took this seriously,” she said. “I trusted they wouldn’t put anything in my kids’ drinks or have anything around for kids to grab that has CBD or THC in it.”

Villarreal now wants there to be changes so this doesn’t happen to another young child.

“I don’t think there should be any type of edibles where kids can go into. They like to see the gummies, the brownies, the cake pops. They are going to go for that,” Villarreal said. “If it wasn’t me, it could have happened to someone else.”

13abc reached out to Groovy Smoothie for comment, and they said they would send a statement. This story will be updated once a statement is received.

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