Cannabis exposures higher in states with legalized marijuana.

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Cannabis exposures higher in states with legalized marijuana

—Higher rates of cannabis product exposures reported to U.S. poison control centers are seen in states where marijuana is legal, suggesting that exposures may be expected to increase with expanded legalization in more states, according to a research letter published online May 24 in JAMA Network Open.

Julia A. Dilley, Ph.D., from the Oregon Public Health Division in Portland, and colleagues analyzed data from the National Poison Data System on cannabis exposures reported to U.S. poison control centers from January 2017 through December 2019 (cannabis product type codes were added to the system in 2016). Trends and characteristics of exposures were evaluated for manufactured products (e.g., concentrates, edibles, vaporized liquids) and unprocessed plant materials.

The researchers identified 28,630 exposures, which most commonly involved plant materials (65.5 percent), followed by edibles (19.3 percent), concentrates (9.6 percent), vaporized liquids (3.8 percent), and other manufactured products (1.8 percent). Cases involving children (younger than 10 years) were more often manufactured product exposures (27.0 percent) versus plant-based exposures (8.4 percent). More than half of calls to poison control centers came from a health care facility. Calls regarding manufactured products came from residences nearly twice as often as plant-based exposure calls (39.8 versus 20.3 percent). Rates for manufactured cannabis product exposures in 2019 were greater where adult cannabis use was legal, except for vaping exposure calls, which were higher in nonlegal states.

“Novice cannabis users are often advised to ‘start low, go slow’; this guidance may be equally applicable to regulating new retail cannabis markets and products,” the authors write.

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