Study Finds A 133% Jump in Children Admitted to ER for Weed
There has been a jump in children admitted to ER for weed. How do we interpret this? And how do we prevent accidental ingestion among kids?
A statistic in France shows a significant jump in children admitted to ER for weed. There was a 133% increase in hospital admissions among children for accidental cannabis ingestion. But what does this statistic indicate? Is it any different in the United States?
The statistic of the jump in children admitted to ER for weed seems alarming. A 133% increase of anything seems dramatic and should be a cause for concern. Especially since the statistic in question mostly concerns children under the age of six. But the fact of the matter is that the 133% increase was over an eleven year period.
Weed is illegal in France. Yet, the country leads Europe in cannabis consumption. In France, the most common way to enjoy cannabis is by smoking hashish.
The lead author of the French study, Dr. Isabelle Claudet, attributes the jump in children admitted to ER for weed to the increasing levels of THC in the cannabis available in France. According to her research, levels of THC have risen from 4% in 2004 all the way up to 20% in 2014. Claudet believes that the solution to keep children in France safe is to regulate the concentration of THC in cannabis products. She also advocates for proper education about weed, particularly for parents.
In The United States
In Colorado, the statistics are similar. Since the state legalized recreational weed, hospitals saw an increase in children being admitted for accidental overdose. In fact, across the country where states have either medical or recreational programs, from 2005 to 2011, there was an increase of 30% per year of hospitalizations.
In the case of Colorado, pediatric toxicologist Dr. G. Sam Wang reported a jump in children admitted to ER for weed from two years before the state legalized cannabis to two years after legalization. 48% of those ER admissions were due to children accidentally ingesting edibles.
Final Hit: The Jump in Children Admitted to ER for Weed
When talking about these kinds of statistics, it’s important to remember that in order to analyze them, we need to understand them. While it’s true that ER admissions among children who accidentally ingest cannabis increased, the general population of Colorado also increased. Particularly in the Denver area. The population of France has also increased.
When the population increases, one should expect the rate of hospitalizations to increase as well.
This isn’t to say that the problem of children accidentally ingesting cannabis isn’t a big deal. It’s a serious issue that needs to be addressed. In the case of Colorado, a significant percentage of kids being hospitalized for weed is due to them unintentionally eating edibles. This can be easily prevented. Parents with small children, or anyone who has kids coming to their home, should take precautions by locking up and hiding their cannabis supply. Much like we do with other prescription drugs.
At the end of the day, cannabis is medicine. We need to start treating it as such.