Marijuana Exposure Rising Among Young Children
A study published in the journal _Clinical Pediatrics _found that that rate of children younger than six being exposed to marijuana increased by 147.5 percent between 2006 and 2013.
Using data from the National Poison Data System, researchers at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, determined that during the study period there were 1,969 marijuana exposures among children younger than six--a rate of 5.9 per million children. The average age of a child being exposed to marijuana was 1.81 years, with more than 75 percent of the children under the age of three.
Seventy-five percent of the children in the study were exposed to marijuana by ingesting it. Researchers believe this was a result from of the greater availability of baked goods and candy containing marijuana.
While marijuana consumption usually has only minor effects, some children experienced more serious reactions, such as seizures, decreased breathing and coma. That, said researchers, could be a result of higher THC levels in the product. Overall, 18.5 percent of the reported marijuana exposures resulted in visits to health care facilities. Exposure rates were higher in states that legalized marijuana during the study period.
Researchers recommended that states considering legalization need to take child protection and safety into consideration, particularly regarding the sale of marijuana edibles.