CDC: Marijuana is sending more kids to the emergency room, and the trend started before COVID

By Nicholas Gerbis
Published: Friday, July 14, 2023 - 8:24am
Updated: Friday, July 14, 2023 - 1:49pm

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Marijuana cannabis edibles in child resistant bottles
Emily Mai/Cronkite News
Arizona law requires manufacturers and dispensaries to must place edible marijuana into child-resistant packaging, such as these bottles from a Scottsdale dispensary.

Healthcare data tie the coronavirus pandemic to increased substance use among young people. That includes cannabis.

But a new CDC report also shows that emergency department visits related to cannabis began ramping up years before COVID.

Almost 19% of kids 12 and under in the U.S. used cannabis in 2021.

Expanding legalization has coincided with lower risk perception and more cannabis-related ED visits among children and young teens.

During the pandemic, more than one-quarter of ED visits among people 25 and younger occurred in the 15–24 age group.

The data also showed a large uptick in visits among children 10 and younger and in the 11–14 age group.

The authors recommend locking and storing cannabis away from children and suggest communities implement evidence-based programs to help young people cope with stressors and problems.

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