Marijuana Intoxication Cases Among French Kids Has Jumped 133%

Leslie Hanson
August 15, 2017

Increased availability of potent marijuana products in France may be driving an increase in emergency room visits by intoxicated toddlers, a new study suggests.

Marijuana intoxication is when a child ingests marijuana products or inhales marijuana smoke. Symptoms may vary according to the child's age and size, but the most common symptoms include difficulty breathing, sleepiness, seizures and at worst, a coma.

"I was surprised by the increase of admissions in my unit", said lead author Dr. Isabelle Claudet.

To assess the trend of pediatric ED admissions resulting from unintentional cannabis intoxication between 2004 and 2014 in France, Claudet and colleagues conducted a retrospective, national, multicenter, observational study that included children younger than 6 years of age. Similarly, calls to French poison control centers for those types of exposures increased 312 percent. The skyrocketing numbers of ER trips was linked to higher concentrations of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, being used in the drug's production.

"THC concentration in cannabis products has increased from 9% in 2004 to 20% in 2014", she said.

More states are legalizing marijuana for medical and recreational uses, but some researchers are concerned about accidental ingestion and "second-hand" effects on children.

Twenty times more severe cases were reported in 2014 compared with 2004, and and four times more severe cases were reported in 2014 compared with 2013.

Marijuana Intoxication Cases Among French Kids Has Jumped 133%
Marijuana Intoxication Cases Among French Kids Has Jumped 133%

The report additionally found that 66 percent of the teens and young adults who went to the ER for a marijuana-related reason were also evaluated by a psychiatrist while they were there.

Claudet believes the best way to decrease the number of pediatric marijuana intoxication cases in France is to decrease the concentration of THC in cannabis through regulation.

Claudet said children should be kept away from cannabis products, and parents should realize how unsafe the drug is. Three quarters of them had ingested the drug; almost the same proportion ingested sticks, balls or cones made of the resin.

As states in the US move forward with legalization, they must do a better job monitoring these events and work on prevention, Wang said. Children were most likely intoxicated through ingestion of cannabis resin (72%).

"Usually, kids get into things that become more available, and usually, that happens when it's a household product, like those laundry detergent pods, which were attractive", Wang said. Some children were also in respiratory failure, and eight required a ventilator.

While marijuana might relax parents, it could make their children comatose.

"I think moving forward, every state that moves forward with legalization, you need to think of these unintended consequences and think how you're going to address them", said Wang. "Colorado had some of that in the beginning of legalization, but we also made mistakes".

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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