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marijuana exposure, marijuana legalization

A new medical study shows that marijuana exposure among young children has increased in recent years, and this has been caused by marijuana legalization efforts in North America. A number of states have legalized marijuana for medical purposes, and a handful have also legalized this drug for recreational purposes as well. According to Central Ohio Poison Center at Nationwide Children’s Hospital director and one of the study authors Henry Spiller “The high percentage of ingestions may be related to the popularity of marijuana brownies, cookies and other foods. Very young children explore their environments by putting items in their mouths, and foods such as brownies and cookies are attractive.” Data from the National Poison Database System was used in the study, and the exposure in young children occurred as a result of inhaling marijuana smoke or swallowing products laced with the drug.

The marijuana exposure study showed that marijuana legalization was at least partly responsible for the increased exposure of young children. The study showed that the exposure rate for children aged 5 and younger increased close to 150% in the USA from 2000 through 2013. During this period US Poison Control Centers reported around 2,000 cases of marijuana exposure that involved children aged 5 or less. States where marijuana legalization was not passed still saw an increase in marijuana exposure in this age group by more than 60%. Dr. Gary Smith, the senior author of the study and the Center for Injury Research and Policy director explained “Any state considering marijuana legalization needs to include child protections in its laws from the very beginning. Child safety must be part of the discussion when a state is considering legalization of marijuana.”