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  • U.S. sees sharp rise in marijuana poisoning among children


    A new study published in the journal Clinical Toxicology analyzed records of nearly 339,000 reported cases of cannabis-related poisoning. Based on an evaluation of these records, it was found that between 2000 and 2020, the number of reported cases of intentional use of mj in people aged 6 to 18 years increased by 245%, or about two and a half times. Most of them are boys (53.8%), more than 80% of minor victims are teenagers from 13 to 18 years old. About 32% of juvenile poisoning cases were categorized as "worse than minor clinical outcomes".

    Whereas earlier cases of seeking medical help after using cannabis were relatively stable, since 2011 this number has been steadily increasing, and a particularly sharp increase was observed from 2017 to 2020.

    At the same time, it was found that the number of children who received alcohol poisoning dropped dramatically. The turning point came in 2014, when drug-related cases outnumbered those related to alcohol poisoning.

    Experts analyzing the data attribute the rise in cannabis use to the rise in popularity of cannabis food products, which are now widely available throughout the country.

    “Each year from 2000 to 2013, ethanol abuse outnumbered mj,” says Dr. Adrienne Hughes, assistant professor of emergency medicine at the Oregon Health and Science University, and one of the authors of the study. She also notes that this trend reversed by 2014: “Since 2014, the number of cases of marijuana exposure has exceeded the number of cases of ethanol use each year, and each year by more than the previous one.”

    While the abuse rate of all forms of mj has increased, it is edibles and vaping products that have seen the highest average monthly increase compared to all other forms, suggesting that teens have moved from smoking weed to alternative ways of consuming.

    The authors of the study believe that the growth of these categories of drugs among teenagers is due to their attractive advertising, less visibility and ease of use. Also, a high number of victims consider these types of products less harmful than traditional smoking. But this is not so at all.

    While cannabis consumed in excess in traditional ways causes immediate poisoning, just like tobacco, edibles can take hours to work, so they are consumed in much greater quantities, with unpredictable consequences.

    “Compared to smoking mj, which usually results in immediate intoxication, intoxication from edible forms of mj usually takes several hours, which can lead some people to consume more and experience an unexpected and unpredictable high,” says Hughes.

    The sharp rise in cannabis use by children since 2017 coincides with a wave of decriminalization in the US. As of 2022, cannabis is legal for adult recreational use in 19 states and for medical use in 36 states.

    Although cannabis is legal only for adults, the authors of the study argue that legalization has made cannabis more accessible to children and adolescents, including the perception of this product as completely safe.

    Author DeepWeb
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