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What Aimee Larsen first thought was a stomach bug turned out to be something much more terrifying for her young son.

Her 9-year-old woke up one day last week seeming “lethargic, barely able to stand or speak,” his mom shared in a Facebook post. At first, she assumed he had a virus, but something about his behavior just didn’t seem right. She called an ambulance and asked her older sons if their brother might have gotten into something, like cough syrup or another over-the-counter medicine.

Their answer? “Yeah, THC gummies.”

THC gummies are an edible form of cannabis that contain tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. Larsen had no idea the candy-like substance was in her house, purchased legally by her 18-year-old son at a gas station.

RELATED: Your Teens Know More Than You Think, So Add 20 Percenet

“Did you know they sell this stuff at the gas station?” Larsen writes. “Did you know there is no child safety measures? Did you know that teenagers are using this for a soft high as a relief from anxiety or stress? Not me. I didn’t know. I see my children every day, look them in the eyes, talk to them, and this was flying under our radar.
The problem was, my small child ate one. Just one.”

Aimee’s son was carefully monitored at the hospital until his symptoms subsided. Larsen decided to open up about her family’s experience because THC poisoning in children is on the rise—and many parents are in the dark.

“The nurses and doctors and I had long conversations about the rise in cases like these and the dangers they are seeing,” she wrote. “It looks and tastes like candy. It’s pretty and packaged beautifully. The dosage of one gummy is extremely high. Parents, talk to your children.”

RELATED: Hard Conversations with Your Teens Are Always Worth It

Larsen added that the conversation in her own home will be ongoing about both the substance and the importance of open discussion about mental health in teens. “One thing we never talk about is parenting your adult children. Our 18-year-old purchased this legally after work that very same evening. He was told it would help him with stress. He was unaware of what it truly was and the potency. As a mom, my next greatest concern is my child’s mental health. He is still a high school student. He’s always been sweet young man, but also has been on edge for awhile. Navigating adulthood with our youth today is tough. Thank you for everyone who has shown us grace during this time.”

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