Study: Marijuana ingestion is landing Colorado children in ICU

By Megan Presler
For KDVR.com

DENVER — Requiring child-resistant containers and warning labels for medical marijuana may help you prevent a trip to Children’s Hospital in Denver.

A recent study published in Jama Pediatric focused on over 1,300 children between the ages of 8 months and 12 years who unintentionally ingested marijuana and then tracked the symptoms that followed. Some children were diagnosed with lethargy, others experienced a loss of bodily function. Eight patients were admitted to the hospital and two to the intensive care unit.

In some of these cases, the unintentionally ingested marijuana was contained in baked goods like weed brownies or cookies.The results show that the case of unintentional marijuana exposure have increased significantly since September 2009.

An editorial released along with the study offering the perspective of a poison center suggested the potency of marijuana in the United States has progressively increased over the past 40 years, with THC levels climbing from 2 percent to nearly 8 percent.

Signs and symptoms seen at Colorado poison centers have included everything from benign anxiety attacks to the more serious end of the spectrum, including patients who have ended up in comas.

The editorial writers expect such accidental exposures to marijuana to become more common as more states change laws regarding its legalization.

“The consequences of marijuana exposure in children should be part of the ongoing debate on legalizing marijuana,” they wrote.

Amendment 64 was passed in Colorado last November, legalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana for those 21 and older. Less than a month after the vote, two students at the University of Colorado-Boulder were charged with felonies after serving pot brownies to their unsuspecting classmates, three of whom were hospitalized.

Four days later, a student from Air Academy High School in Colorado Springs was also arrested on felony charges for distributing marijuana to a 14-year-old student who ended up sick and hospitalized.

While marijuana may no longer be illegal at the state level, school administrators are continuing to stress that drug usage is still prohibited on the vast majority of campuses across the state.

“The message we want to get out to kids is that (using marijuana) is now a disciplinary offense,” said Larry Borland, chief of security for District 20 in Colorado Springs, shortly after the Air Academy incident. “It always has been a disciplinary offense and always will be a disciplinary offense.”

For more information about obtaining safety bags for medical marijuana and other safety tips contact the Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Center  http://rmpdc.org/


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