Jamaican toddlers taken to hospitals with ganja-related illnesses

Source: Jamaica Gleaner

Health officials in Jamaica are seeing children, some mere toddlers, turning up for emergency medical care at some of the island’s hospitals with high levels of marijuana in their bloodstream.

The startling disclosure was made last week be Dr Tracy Evans-Gilbert, consultant paediatrician at the Cornwall Regional Hospital, as the debate about the use and impact of ganja continued across the island.

According to Evans-Gilbert, adults are leaving ganja paraphernalia around the house and young children are ingesting it, resulting in at least one child being left comatose.

The child’s diagnosis left medical personnel in shock.

“I had to bring it to the health minister’s attention when I saw the (Sunday Gleaner) story ‘Ganja babies,’ because I have the real ganja babies. They are not the adolescents being spoken about in the news.

“I have the babies who are accidentally picking up stuff and eating it because people are careless,” said Evans-Gilbert.

She said the first case she saw was three months after the possession of two ounces or less of marijuana was decriminalised in 2015.

“First of all, there were four children. Three of the children under two years and one was four years. So everybody who is pushing for the decriminalisation of ganja need to do it safely. You can’t be nonchalant about it, because these are the casualties. The babies,” said Evans-Gilbert.

“The kids came in drowsy. One was in a very bad shape. One mother said she couldn’t wake her child, completely unaware that the child had picked up something off the ground.

“Investigations revealed that there were individuals in the house who smoked but no one saw any connections between the condition of the children and the smokers in the house,” explained Evans-Gilbert.

Efforts to arrive at a diagnosis for the comatose child first included CT-scan, lumbar puncture, blood tests, which returned results with no cause for worry.

Evans-Gilbert said on a hunch, the child’s urine samples were tested for toxins, and it came back positive for marijuana.

“I was shocked out of my brains. The residents asked me how I knew and I told them I didn’t. Subsequently, when the other cases came in, the residents had that experience, so having done everything else, they also tested for toxins, and lo and behold, that turned out to be marijuana,” added Evans-Gilbert.

Ingested Raw Tobacco

She said in one instance the child ingested raw tobacco, which is dubbed ‘grabba’ locally and used by many smokers to blend with the ganja, which they smoke.

The grabba was believed to have been picked up from a couch by the child who ingested it.

“One child took a ganja sweet or cookie from the refrigerator because it looked like a treat and ate it. That was the worst case. He came in completely comatose, pulse rate falling, he had to be resuscitated.

“As consultant paediatrician I oversee all these cases. So I raise the issue as a safety issue,” said Evans-Gilbert.

Although that child recovered within 24 hours, Evans-Gilbert said she was led to write a paper on the phenomenon, to look at other places in the world where cannabis is decriminalised and where kids were shown to be ingesting it.

“I found out that in states where it is decriminalised, there is a 30 per cent increase in calls to the poison control centre. The increase in calls was three times the national average as against states where it wasn’t decriminalised.

“The important message that I have is that having seen what happens elsewhere, let us see what kind of public-health issues they face and let us mitigate against it. Roll it out safely, that’s my message,” said the consultant paediatrician.

She said the relevant child protection agencies were called in before the children were discharged.

“I am not saying it (ganja) is not a good drug for medical purposes, but it must be done carefully,” she stated

Ganja-Laced Sweets

In the meantime, Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton, who has made no secret of his opposition to smoking, said ganja was being presented to children through sweets, some of which are being sold by vendors in proximity to schools.

He said kids were also taking the ganja-laced sweets to schools from their houses. Ganja-laced cookies have also been found in some schools.

Tufton has indicated that the ministry’s data is showing a 50 per cent jump in the number of children seeking assistance at public medical facilities for ganja-related illnesses since 2015.

The National Council on Drug Abuse has also reported the results of a study which shows that 70 per cent of the population have easy access to ganja, and children – some as young as 12 years old – have been trying the weed in its many different forms.



16 Responses to Jamaican toddlers taken to hospitals with ganja-related illnesses

  1. Sharon Woolley
    Sharon Woolley April 9, 2017 at 2:52 pm

    Parents need locking away for life

  2. Peter Gittens
    Peter Gittens April 9, 2017 at 3:21 pm

    Sounds like propaganda

    • VoR April 9, 2017 at 4:04 pm

      How is this propaganda? They are talking about real medical cases. This is hard evidence.

      Just because something doesn’t line up with your world view doesn’t make it propaganda.

    • harry turnover April 9, 2017 at 7:14 pm

      You know what is propaganda or you hear people using the word and you want to use it too ? looking at you you look like a druggie yourself…is that propaganda too ?

    • The Negrocrat April 10, 2017 at 7:04 am

      And, you sir, sounds like an idiot.

      • The Negrocrat April 10, 2017 at 7:05 am

        Peter gittens, you sound like an idiot.

  3. Raheem Griffith
    Raheem Griffith April 9, 2017 at 3:46 pm

    Keep your edibles out of the reach of children

  4. jrsmith April 9, 2017 at 4:02 pm

    As I said before, all you people who want to legalize the drug , I hope you all will have the money and medical units, to pick up the pieces , when people would be walking around as like half they brains is missing……………………………………………………………

    • Jennifer April 9, 2017 at 4:19 pm

      @jrsmith – Forget about marijuanna. You must look up the newest drug on the market called FLAKKA. If that gets in Bim we will be looking at DEMONS first hand at work. This drug makes Marijuanna and coke look like a newborn.

  5. jrsmith April 9, 2017 at 5:05 pm

    @, Jennifer , hail , hail, thanks for that , cant work out the fascination with drugs and the way people go to lengths to acquire and use the same………………………………
    Here is a little stirrer for you , in a Sunday paper in the (UK) people is preferring to place they kids into care and replace the kid with one of those man eating animals a ban breed of dog.

    • Jennifer April 9, 2017 at 5:44 pm

      jrsmith – Well hun this no surprise. Maybe the children will cause them to be labeled. Mind you as soon as they remove those pedophile laws, no holds barred ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,…………….. These people are marrying dogs, horses, cats, etc. One woman even married an electric pole. How was she going to consummate that marriage is still a mystery. Get the rid of the serpent you get the rid of the problems. Simple.

  6. Tony Webster April 9, 2017 at 5:18 pm

    We’ve heard that song before…Mighty Chaldust: “Lookout my children, lookout my children…beware the man wid de white powdah”…

    He should have said …”babies too”. Scarce can believe what I ‘m reading..

    • harry turnover April 9, 2017 at 6:57 pm

      ….not Chalkdust though it was lord shorty a Bajan born calypsonian in Trinidad.

  7. Maria Leclair Dasilva
    Maria Leclair Dasilva April 9, 2017 at 6:50 pm

    This is simply a case of negligent/irresponsible parents.

    • papoose April 10, 2017 at 2:33 pm


  8. Warez July 9, 2017 at 8:18 pm

    Not sure why Im commenting..just wanted to say thanks for the share 🙂


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