Medical marijuana sends more kids to ER

By Sarah Carracher,
Kids more frequently sent to emergency rooms after accidentally ingesting pot in treats

The legalization and increased use of medical marijuana may lead to more children accidentally ingesting pot in treats and getting sick, according to a new Colorado study.

In the two years after 2009, when the state legalized medical marijuana, 14 kids were treated in one Colorado emergency room after accidentally ingesting the drug, according to the Reuters Health.

Eight of the children were hospitalized, two of these in the intensive care unit. Their symptoms included unusual drowsiness, unsteady walking, and difficulty breathing. All recovered within a few days.

The children, all younger than 12, included an 8-month-old boy.

“These products are now commercially available and have high amounts of THC in them,” said Dr. George Wang, the researcher who led the study at Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Center in Denver.

“The biggest thing we are concerned about is the level of sedation in these kids,” Wang told Reuters Health. “[T]hey get enough that they're so sleepy that it affects how they breathe, or they fall and hit their head.”

Before the legalization of medical marijuana, none of the children treated for accidental poisoning in the same ER had pot in their systems.

Because of marijuana-containing treats such as gummy candies and cookies, The Associated Press notes, kids are much more likely to ingest the drug.

Image: WikiCommons

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