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Jump in Children’s Hospital for Cannabis Poisoning

A study published in Wednesday New England Journal of Medicine In the year From January 2015 to September 2021, it increased six-fold for children under 10 years of age, with a notable increase following the approval of tetrahydrocannabinol (TCC)-flavored gum, chocolate and baked goods) for sale in 2020.

Dr. Daniel Miran, who led the study, reviewed cases in Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia and Quebec. Since the legalization of recreational use of dried cannabis flowers in Canada in October 2018, hospitalizations have increased more than two and a half times.

In January 2020, after the provinces approved edibles, rates increased again in Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia, while rates remained the same in Quebec, which does not allow edible food sales.

A family doctor in Ottawa says the decision to legalize edibles has increased health risks for children, even though federal and state laws limit the products’ capacity, packaging and availability. .

Emergency physician Yaron Finkelstein, chief investigator at Children’s Hospital Sick children He said he’s seen “a number of cases” of serious cannabis poisoning in Toronto, including children who have had seizures, mechanical ventilation or lost consciousness.

Because things that you eat take longer to be absorbed than cigarettes, for example, these children may take larger, larger doses. And when you see them, they are very sick. »

Quote from Yaron Finkelstein, an emergency physician at SickKids Hospital in Toronto

In the case of an infant in a coma, caregivers did not rule out cannabis poisoning until the child underwent a CT scan and lumbar puncture to rule out other complications, he said.

The researchers tracked 581 young children with cannabis poisoning over the seven years included in the study. The average age was three and a half years.

The data on edibles with the dried flowers and the extent of poisoning were not reported, but Dr. Miran said he is confident that legal edibles increase the risk to children, given that the case occurred when the case occurred and that Quebec served as a control. for the study.

More restrictions?

Health Canada cited the need to reduce the demand for cannabis products, especially among youth, by putting in place child-resistant packaging requirements, limited colors and warning labels in its packaging and labeling guidelines.

Other laws under the Cannabis Act limit THC to 10 milligrams per pack, one-tenth of what is allowed in many US states.

Many players in the cannabis industry want to see fewer restrictions, said senior vice president Omar Khan High Tide Inc.., which operates 139 Canna Cabana stores in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario.

He said stricter THC limits would lead some consumers to seek out illegal edibles with higher content and undermine regulated products.

It’s going to drive more people into the illegal market. And they don’t sell controlled products, they don’t check people’s IDs. »

Quote from Omar Khan, Senior Vice President High Tide Inc.

It also includes this. They sell 10, 20 units in a package, but according to Health Canada legislation, we are allowed to sell a maximum of 10 milligrams per package.

Dr. Finkelstein asserts that various government efforts to prevent potential harm have been ineffective in addressing unintentional poisoning of children. Despite all these measures, we see a strong increase in the approved districtshe said.

We think the right way is to ban cannabis edibles. »

Quote from Yaron Finkelstein, an emergency physician at SickKids Hospital in Toronto

According to Dr. Miran, a preventive medicine specialist at the University of Ottawa and the Ottawa Hospital, society can reap the social and health benefits of consuming dry cannabis without allowing the coloring products.

We are increasing the risk of harm to health with very little public health or health benefit. Public Health Canada’s approach to cannabis sought to eliminate a poorly regulated industry or commercial industry. And I think the real question is whether we’ve hit the balance or not.he asks.

To me, data like this suggests that we don’t have strict rules.he added.

Dr. Miran acknowledges that decriminalizing cannabis has significant public health, societal and equity gains, but says it will not reduce the strictures on what is consumed.

The study was published in New England Journal of Medicine Funding was provided by the Canadian Center for Substance Use and Addiction.

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