Though pot is not generally considered dangerous or deadly, there have been an increasing number of 911 and poison control calls in states where marijuana has been legalized.
According to the Associated Press, poison-control centers in Washington and Colorado have seen a spike in the number of calls related to marijuana. The rise is also significant in comparison to other states who have not legalized marijuana and marijuana products for recreational use.
One of the greatest concerns for public health officials is the increase in poison calls involving injury to young children.
The uptick in calls may not have as much to do with more injury risks, but rather, legalization has made parents and caretakers more likely to call in when there is a risk of harm. While there could be an increase in access to marijuana products, including edibles, some say that the spike in poison control calls has more to do with an ease in contacting authorities regarding marijuana.
According to data presented before the Colorado legislature, the Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Center received 151 calls related to exposure in 2014. The number of calls was up from 88 in 2012, raising concerns for a number of public health professionals.
Washington State also saw an increase in calls since pot was legalized for recreational use. According to the Washington Poison Center, there were 158 calls in 2013 and 246 in 2014. The primary issue for public health experts is the potential risk of exposure for children who accidentally ingest marijuana edibles. The number of calls involving children doubled in both Washington and Colorado.
While advocates posit pot plants are safe because they are natural, doctors and other public health officials are warning officials, parents and children that marijuana is still a drug. Parents should take care not to leave pot or edibles laying around the house, the same way that they should keep prescription drugs out of the reach of children. In the State of Washington, most of the poison control calls resulted in a hospital or emergency room visit. While most were released immediately after an evaluation, ten were admitted to intensive care units. Of those who needed additional treatment, over half were under the age of 20.
For children who are exposed to marijuana, the evaluation and treatment process can be potentially painful and severe. Usually they are required to take blood tests and some will need spinal taps. In the event that parents don’t know that marijuana was ingested, the children will often be tested for other infectious diseases, including meningitis or other dangerous medical conditions. Pot calls have been on the rise in Washington since marijuana was legalized for medical use. In Colorado, there have also been calls involving the combination of marijuana with other drugs.
Marijuana exposure could be a health hazard, especially involving edibles, overdose, and children. If you are a legal medical marijuana card holder, it is important to know the risks of ingestion and exposure. Parents should also take care to make sure marijuana is out of the hands of teens and children. Our Orange County medical marijuana attorneys are committed to raising awareness to ensure safety throughout the state of California. We are also dedicated to protecting the rights of individual users and dispensary owners.
The Los Angeles CANNABIS LAW Group represents growers, dispensaries, collectives, patients and those facing marijuana charges. Call us at 949-375-4734.
More Blog Entries:
D.C. Decriminalizes Marijuana, Federal Land Raises Legal Complications, July 16, 2014 Los Angeles Marijuana Lawyer Blog
United States Marijuana Laws Influencing Other Countries, February 14, 2014, Los Angeles Marijuana Lawyer Blog