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Kids' (Very Low) Rate of Accidental Exposure to Marijuana Increases with Decriminalization — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
February 10, 2014

Kids' (Very Low) Rate of Accidental Exposure to Marijuana Increases with Decriminalization

By Joe Elia

Accidental exposures to marijuana among children under age 10 have increased in states that have liberalized access, according to an Annals of Emergency Medicine study. The absolute risk remains low, however.

Researchers examined records of calls to poison centers from 2005 to 2011. States that eased access before 2005 showed a roughly 30% annual increase in calls; those states with more recent laws easing access had a roughly 10% annual increase that was not statistically significant; and those where marijuana remained illegal showed less than a 2% annual increase, which was also insignificant. The absolute rates in the states with easiest access stood at roughly 15 calls per million residents under age 10 in 2011.

Daniel Pallin, an NEJM Journal Watch emergency physician, comments: "These results suggest that neither patients nor the healthcare system are likely to be substantially affected by marijuana legalization, by showing that spontaneous reports of unintentional ingestion are rare despite legal availability of the drug." His full summary and comment will appear at jwatch.org.

Reader Comments (1)

ALFRED JULIANO Physician, Internal Medicine

I don't know.... 10% and surely 30% seem to be statistically significant... if not...JUST SIGNIFICANT.

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