Startling Fivefold Increase in Colo. ER Visits for Children Consuming Legal Pot

It seems that Colorado’s legalization of marijuana is having some unwanted side effects. More children than ever before have been checking into emergency rooms throughout the state as a result of ingesting their parents’ edibles. A recent study looking at the last six years of marijuana exposure cases in children showed that cannabis-infused edibles (like brownies, cookies and candy) were to blame 48% of the time. In some treatment centers, they saw a fivefold increase in the number of children admitted as a result of ingesting marijuana.

From the Daily Beast:

Overall, the authors found that the average rate of marijuana-related visits to the children’s hospital had shot up from 1.2 per 100,000 children two years prior legalization to 2.3 per 100,000 two years afterward—a trend that suggests that “[recreational] legalization did affect the incidence of exposures.”

Two more findings shore up this hypothesis: Not only did Colorado’s increase in marijuana-related calls for young children outpace such increases in the rest of the country, but nearly half of the cases after legalization involved recreational rather than medical marijuana.

While none of the children admitted to the hospital had fatal injuries, the range of symptoms was vast: some required intubation as a result of respiratory depression while others were lethargic or sleepy.

In many of the cases examined, the marijuana was not in childproof packaging – something that other states should consider when introducing the legalization of recreational cannabis.