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2017 to 2021 Saw Increase in Pediatric Edible Cannabis Exposure

When comparing pre-COVID-19 years with COVID-19 years, significant increase seen in both ICU and non-ICU admissions

By Elana Gotkine HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 4, 2023 (HealthDay News) — Pediatric edible cannabis exposures increased from 2017 to 2021, with most exposures occurring in a residential setting, according to a study published online Jan. 3 in Pediatrics.

Marit S. Tweet, M.D., from the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine in Springfield, and colleagues conducted a retrospective analysis of the National Poison Data System for pediatric exposures to edible cannabis products in children younger than 6 years of age from 2017 to 2021. Trends in incidence, medical outcomes, and health care utilization were analyzed between the pre-COVID-19 years (2017 to 2019) and the COVID-19 years (2020 to 2021).

The researchers identified 7,043 exposures reported during 2017 to 2021. There were 207 reported cases in 2017 and 3,054 cases in 2021, representing a 1,375.0 percent increase. Of the exposures, 97.7 percent occurred in a residential setting. Of the cases followed to a known outcome, 70 percent were reported to have central nervous system depression. Overall, 22.7 percent of all reported cases were admitted to the hospital. When comparing the pre-COVID-19 years with the COVID-19 years, a significant increase was seen in both intensive care unit (ICU) and non-ICU admissions, while a decrease was seen in the number of patients treated and released.

“Prioritizing prevention strategies such as changing product packaging and labeling, regulating the maximum allowable dose in a package, and increasing public education on mitigation of household risks are key in reducing these exposures,” the authors write.

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