Looser marijuana laws may be behind “surges” in accidental pot poisonings in kids, according to new research.
Apparently kids are now getting high off their parent’s supplies, which include their parents marijuana-laced brownies, cookies and beverages that are sold at dispensaries. This has led to a rise in emergency room visits at one Colorado hospital. The study purposefully looked at Colorado because it has the loosest marijuana laws in the U.S. The study was published May 27 in JAMA Pediatrics.
“We have seen an increase in unintentional ingestions of marijuana by children since the modification of drugs laws in Colorado,” study author Dr. George Wang, a clinical instructor in pediatrics at Children’s Hospital Colorado and the University of Colorado School of Medicine, said in a written statement. “Before the marijuana boom these kinds of edibles were not mass-produced and the amount of THC ingested was somewhat limited, but now we are seeing much higher strength marijuana,” he said.
For the study, researchers compared accidental marijuana ingestion rates at a Colorado children’s hospital before and after October 2009. In late 2009, the U.S. Justice Department instructed federal prosecutors to not arrest medical marijuana users and suppliers if they were abiding by state laws.
Colorado approved medical marijuana legislation in 2001 for certain conditions including cancer, glaucoma and HIV/AIDS, ProCon.org reported. In 2010, the state passed a law providing regulatory framework for medical marijuana dispensaries.
Nearly 1,400 pediatric patients under 12 were evaluated at the Colo. emergency room for unintentional ingestion for the study. Prior to Sept. 30, 2009, zero of 790 accidental poisoning cases were for marijuana. After Oct. 1, 2009, the number spiked to 14 of 588 cases, with seven of them caused by eating medical marijuana products.
Kids who ate the edible pot products showed symptoms like extreme sleepiness, respiratory distress and difficulty walking. The children recovered within a couple days.
“We know that children will act quickly to ingest even unpalatable items like household cleaners, pills and capsules,” he said in the press release. “The allure of these marijuana edibles which taste and look like simple sweets makes them especially risky.”
Keep your stash out of the reach of your children.