Bottom Line: Rates of marijuana exposure cases in children and teens reported to a poison control center increased after Massachusetts legalized medical marijuana in 2012. From 2009 to 2016, there were 218 cannabis-related calls (a small portion of the calls to the poison center) about exposure in children and teens to age 19, with most of the calls coming from health care facilities. Teens ages 15 to 19 were involved in the highest number of cases followed by children to age 4. Exposures among teenagers were mostly classified as intentional whereas exposures among young children were unintentional. There were statistically significant increases in the number of exposures to edible products in both of these age groups. The rate for all cases involving cannabis for the four years before and the four years after medical marijuana legalization increased from 1.3 to 2.2 per 100,000. Limitations of the study include the small number of calls and self-reported marijuana exposures that may not have been verified by laboratory testing.
Authors: Jennifer M. Whitehill, Ph.D., University of Massachusetts Amherst, and coauthors
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