July 28, 2016

Study Finds Sharp Increase in Marijuana Exposures Among Colorado Children

Calls to Colorado poison control centers seeking help for unintentional marijuana exposure in children younger than age 10 jumped 150 percent since 2009, a new study in JAMA Pediatrics found.

In that same year, the state commercialized marijuana for medical use. Rates soared again in 2013 when the state legalized recreational marijuana.

Colorado’s 34 percent average annual increase of exposures is significantly greater than the rest of the states at 19 percent, according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers.

Emergency room visits for marijuana exposures also escalated at one Colorado hospital, from 1 in 2009 to 16 in 2015. The mean age of these children was 2.4 years. One 11-month old died.

Marijuana products involved in the exposures included infused edible products such as baked goods, candy and flavored popcorn.

The researchers note that, compared with more plentiful unintentional pediatric exposures to items like pharmaceuticals and household products, “symptoms after marijuana exposure can be severe; 35 percent of patients presenting to the hospital required admission.”


CADCA’s online course “What Do We Know About Marijuana?”

CADCA’s Practical Theorist 5 “Marijuana Abuse: Using Science for an Effective Community Response”

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