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Marijuana exposure in children increased after its recreational legalization in Colorado: Study

Marijuana exposure in children increased after its recreational legalization in Colorado: Study

08-09 | CDAH Team

The growing belief about marijuana being harmless as compared to other substances has been pushing many quarters to take a positive stand on the issue of legalization of marijuana. Marijuana use for medical purposes has been permitted in 29 American states, while the use of weed for recreational purposes has been legalized in four.

A recent study by the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora analyzed the impact of the legalization of marijuana for recreational purposes on unintentional pediatric exposures. It revealed that after the legalization, there was an increase in the number of visits to a hospital and cases registered with the regional poison center (RPC) due to kids being exposed to marijuana inadvertently.

Weed affects both physical and psychological health of users

Colorado legalized medical marijuana use in 2000, while recreational marijuana use was validated in 2014. Previous researches had warned against the side effects of marijuana if its use is initiated from the early stages of life. It seems the latest study only reinforces the fear of adverse effects of weed on both physical and psychological health of the users.

The authors of the study, titled “Unintentional Pediatric Exposures to Marijuana in Colorado, 2009-2015,” compared the prevalence of exposures to marijuana among kids at a children’s hospital and a RPC in Colorado before and after legalization of its recreational use.

The study, published online in the journal JAMA Pediatrics in July 2016, aimed to contrast the difference in population trends of RPC cases of exposure to marijuana with the rest of America.

The scientists obtained the details of hospital admissions at the hospital and cases registered at the Colorado RPC from 2009 to 2015. The children under observation included those aged under 10 years who had been evaluated at the hospital’s emergency department, top priority units or an inpatient unit, and RPC cases registered for accidental weed exposure.

The scientists found that 81 children of which 62 were included in the study were evaluated at the hospital and 163 exposure calls were made to the RPC. The average age of children brought to the hospital was 2.4 years, while it was two years for the RPC cases.

Marijuana-related visits for pediatric care rose since allowing its recreational use

The study revealed that marijuana-related visits to the hospital for pediatric care rose from 1.2 per 100,000 population two years prior to marijuana legalization to 2.3 in 100,000 population two years after legalization. As for RPC, marijuana cases rose nearly five times, from merely nine in 2009 to 47 in 2015.

Colorado alone suffered an average increase of 34 percent in RPC cases each year when contrasted with 19 percent increase in the entire country. Probing the source it was found that exposure to marijuana resulted from infused eatables. Also, lack of supervision in families and callousness adopted in keeping marijuana from children’s reach contributed to marijuana exposures among kids. The symptoms of marijuana poisoning in children include lethargies, giddiness, distress, vomiting, and other physical signs, such as respiratory problems and seizures.

Way to recovery

It is necessary that certain guidelines are put in place to ensure safe handling of marijuana and its use for treatment of disorders that are not treated by other medications. Apart from the medicinal effects of weed, it is imperative to educate people about the potential marijuana use disorder linked to its abuse.

Addiction to any kind of substance results in deterioration of both physical and psychological health. It is imperative to seek professional help in case of dependence on weed. If you or your loved one is addicted to opioids, you can contact the Colorado Drug Addiction Helpline. Our representatives can help you find one of the best drug abuse treatment centers in Colorado. You can call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-218-7546 or chat online or for an expert advice for drug rehab centers in Colorado.


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