Pediatric Poisonings Associated With Ingestion of Marijuana Products


Background:

Rapid changes in marijuana legislation have resulted in a wider array of products containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) to be legally manufactured and sold, such as edibles in the form of gummy candies and cookies. These products may be enticing to young children who mistake them for typical snack foods.


Objective:

Our aim was to describe emergency department (ED) visits due to unintentional ingestion of cannabis products among children aged birth to 11 years old in the United States.


Methods:

Using the 2019-2020 National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, U.S. ED records for poisoning events related to ingestion of THC were examined. Descriptive epidemiologic analyses were conducted to provide national estimates of the pediatric visits.


Results:

An estimated 1245 pediatric patient visits related to unintentional marijuana poisoning occurred. Most poisonings involved edible marijuana products and most patients were admitted to the hospital.


Conclusions:

Cannabis edibles present a challenge with regard to prevention of poisonings among the pediatric population. Legislation or company policies pertaining to packaging and manufacturing are needed to limit the attraction of toddlers and young children, as well reliance on parents and caregivers for safe storage of the products. Continued and expanded public health education campaigns are warranted.


Keywords:

drug; emergency department; pediatric; poisoning; prevention.

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