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Trends in Unintentional Edible Cannabis Exposures in Children

January 3, 2023

With more states passing legislation to legalize not just medical but recreational cannabis use, it is reasonable to expect that young children will have better access to unintentional ingestions. What are the trends over time in edible cannabis ingestions and what should we do?

Tweet et al (10.1542/peds.2022-057761) provide a retrospective analysis of data on 7,043 exposures to edible cannabis products obtained from data submitted to the National Poison Data System between 2017 and 2021. There was a remarkable 1,375% increase in cases seen in emergency departments, from 207 in 2017 to 3,054 in 2021. Increases in admissions to ICUs and to non-ICU inpatient settings occurred during the COVID-19 years of 2020-2021 compared to the pre–COVID-19 study period of 2017-2019. The authors provide additional information on where these ingestions are occurring (mostly in the home), what the symptoms are that accompany these ingestions (with central nervous system depression leading that list), and what the disposition and medical outcomes are in regard to these children experiencing acute toxicity during the 5 years.

The authors provide thoughts about the factors leading to these findings and what we can do to prevent these ingestions. Two key recommendations are changing product packaging to make products less attractive to children and reducing the allowable dose in a package. There is plenty of great information to chew on in this study, so link to it and learn more.

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