Marijuana Poisoning in Children Rose 150% in Colorado After Legalization

Life isn't altogether sunny in the legal pot utopia. The usual victims of adults behaving irresponsibly are unsurprisingly children. And this entire issue is summed up as adults behaving irresponsibly.

A new study shows marijuana poisoning in young children has risen 150 percent in Colorado since the substance was legalized in 2014... According to the study published by the JAMA Pediatrics Journal Monday, the mean rate of marijuana poisoning increased at Children’s Hospital in Denver from 1.2 per 100,000 two years before legalization to 2.3 per 100,000 after legalization.

The majority of those cases involved children who had ingested marijuana edibles.

Dr. Sharon Levy, director of the adolescent substance abuse program at Boston Children’s Hospital, said excessive marijuana exposure can cause psychotic episodes for both children and adults.

The long-term effects for young kids are unknown.

“They could have acute psychotic reactions, which is why they would need to be admitted to intensive care units in some cases,” she said. “They have a change of mental status and become very lethargic.”

It gets uglier.

“Here at Children’s Hospital Colorado we saw an increase from one child we saw in the emergency department in 2009 to 16 in 2015,” said Dr. G. Sam Wang, the lead author of the study, in a press release. “And at the regional poison center, we had nine calls for kids between [ages] zero and nine in 2009 increase fivefold to 47 in 2015.”

Dr. Wang said that the majority of the cases happened at home, with the children later presenting symptoms of “lethargy” and “sleepiness.” Some cases were more serious, he added, requiring tracheal intubation to treat coma or respiratory depression...

Two more findings shore up this hypothesis: Not only did Colorado’s increase in marijuana-related calls for young children outpace such increases in the rest of the country, but nearly half of the cases after legalization involved recreational rather than medical marijuana.

The answer we're told is more parental supervision. But just maybe the sorts of people most likely to buy pot candy are least likely to do that.

In February of this year, for example, a Wisconsin man had to take his 3-year-old son to the hospital after the boy accidentally ate marijuana-infused candy that had been left within reach of children during a birthday party. As WISN reported, the Sheboygan police report said the boy was “breathing but otherwise minimally responsive” when he was taken to the ER.

The boy survived after being treated in a children’s hospital; the father was later charged with child neglect.

Don't harsh his mellow.