All posts tagged: Health

High time: introducing the Guardian’s new cannabis column for grownups

Cannabis has long been shrouded in misinformation and stoner stereotypes. But with California now the worlds largest legal market, and others likely to follow suit, its time to start talking like adults. In a new column, Alex Halperin kicks off a conversation and invites your questions

Today, California becomes the worlds largest legal marijuana market. Its not the first American state to go fully legal, but with its outsized cultural influence and economy larger than France, its about to do for cannabis what Hollywood did for celluloid and Silicon Valley did for the semi-conductor.

Already, 30 US states have legalized medical marijuana (Med). Next year, Canada is likely to become the first large industrialized nation to legalize recreational (Rec), with support from prime minister Justin Trudeau. Germany, Israel and Australia have the beginnings of Med industries. Legal marijuana is coming to your neighborhood, maybe a lot sooner than you think.

For decades the plant has been stigmatized, at best, as a time waster for malodorous and unproductive men, with the disapproval factor steepening after age 30. But here in Los Angeles, the worlds most important cannabis market, a rebranding is underway. Marketers are positioning marijuana as a mainstream wellness product, a calorie-free alternative to an after-work cocktail. In short, its on the brink of global conquest.

Theres much to celebrate in that. Among other things, cannabis can be fun, and in some patients it relieves certain kinds of suffering. In the US, legalization is an important victory for criminal justice reform, and racist war on drugs tactics which continue to ruin many lives.

For that reason and many more, marijuana needs to be taken seriously, even though it can make people act goofy.

With legalization, many more people will spend much more of their time high. It will have profound consequences for how adults relax, yes, but also how they date, parent and work. Already, seniors are the fastest growing group of users in the US.

Legalization supporters often say cannabis is safer than alcohol, and this view has gained mainstream credibility. As Barack Obama said, it was no more dangerous than alcohol.

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A bag of cannabis seen in Toronto. Canada is likely to become the first large industrialized nation to legalize recreational use. Photograph: Mark Blinch/Reuters

Its true that you cant fatally overdose on cannabis. And the drug is less likely than booze to presage a car accident, an assault or another life shattering event. But legalization may give rise to unforeseen problems. (Some doctors have expressed concern about use during pregnancy.)

No one knows how mass-market weed will change how we live and relate to each other. Its safe to guess it will alter daily life as irrevocably and intimately as landmark products like cars, smartphones and reliable birth control.

Society has embarked on these kinds of mass experiments before. More than a decade into the social media age were only beginning to appreciate the implications for our brains and for our world.

Cannabis, at least, is a familiar entity. The plant has been known as both a psychoactive and a medicine for millennia. But much of the existing information and superstition is anecdotal, since for a lifetime its been almost impossible to study this chemically complex plant.

Due to marijuanas outlaw past, and its most famous property, a fog of misinformation and bullshit envelops the plant and everything it touches. As a reporter, Ive been listening to it for three years.

Now that world-class marketers have arrived on the scene, the fog has, if anything, thickened. The shelves of California pot shops abound with products implying medical benefits. Several brands of cannabis lubes claim to heighten female orgasms. In stores, they sit alongside tempting gourmet chocolates and infused breath mints, discrete enough for work.

Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/us

Mary JaneHigh time: introducing the Guardian’s new cannabis column for grownups
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More pregnant women are using pot, study finds

(CNN)More pregnant women seem to be using pot — sometimes to ease the nausea of morning sickness or heightened anxiety — and a new study suggests that this slight rise in marijuana use is most pronounced among those younger in age.

The prevalence of marijuana use among a sample of moms-to-be in California climbed from 4.2% to 7.1% from 2009 through 2016, according to a research letter published in the journal JAMA on Tuesday.
Among pregnant teens younger than 18, marijuana use climbed from 12.5% to 21.8%, and among women 18 to 24, marijuana use climbed from 9.8% to 19%, the researchers found.
    That research involved only certain women in California, but a separate study of pregnant women across the United States, published in JAMA in January, found that those who reported using marijuana in the previous month grew from 2.37% in 2002 to 3.85% in 2014. The women were 18 to 44.

      This is your body on weed

    Doctors caution that the health effects of marijuana on a fetus remain unclear but could include low birth weight and developmental problems, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Many of the chemicals in marijuana, like tetrahydrocannabinol, known as THC, could pass through a mother’s system to her baby.
    The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that “women who are pregnant or contemplating pregnancy should be encouraged to discontinue marijuana use” and “to discontinue use of marijuana for medicinal purposes in favor of an alternative therapy.”
    Additionally, “there are insufficient data to evaluate the effects of marijuana use on infants during lactation and breastfeeding, and in the absence of such data, marijuana use is discouraged,” according to the recommendations.

    Why more pregnant women are using weed

    The new research involved 279,457 mothers-to-be, 12 and older, who were in the Kaiser Permanente Northern California health care system. The study participants completed questionnaires about their marijuana use and took a cannabis toxicology test during their standard prenatal care visits from 2009 through 2016.
    The women were screened for marijuana use at approximately eight weeks’ gestation.
    The researchers found that the prevalence of marijuana use, based on self-reports or toxicology results, soared among all age groups, but the biggest rise was among those 24 and younger.
    “We were concerned to find that the prevalence of marijuana use in pregnancy is increasing more quickly among younger females, aged 24 and younger, and to see the high prevalence of use in this age group,” the study’s lead author, Kelly Young-Wolff, licensed clinical psychologist and research scientist at the Kaiser Permanente Northern California Division of Research, wrote in an email.
    For other age groups, the researchers found that marijuana use rose from 3.4% to 5.1% among women 25 to 34 and from 2.1% to 3.3% among women older than 34.

      Getting clean while pregnant

    Pregnancy in adolescents has been linked to increases in behaviors such as drinking and marijuana use, and pot use could have a disproportionate effect on the increase seen among teens in the study because the adolescent participant group had fewer members than the adult groups.
    For instance, moms-to-be younger than 18 years were only 1.4% of the overall sample in the study, but 18 to 24 were 15.8%, 25 to 34 were 61.6%, and older than 34 were 21.2%.
    Additionally, “we were unable to distinguish prenatal use before versus after women realized they were pregnant,” Young-Wolff wrote.
    “Marijuana is detectable in urine approximately 30 days after last use and this varies with heaviness of use and marijuana potency,” she said. “it is possible, but unlikely, that some toxicology tests identified prepregnancy use.”
    The findings also were limited to data on pregnant women within one health care system in a limited geographic area of California.
    All in all, “the paper is not surprising, and the findings of a rise in marijuana use during pregnancy is consistent with recent attention to marijuana and legalization in various states,” said Dr. Haywood Brown, professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Duke University School of Medicine, who was not involved in the new study.
    An advantage of the study, he added, was that women not only self-reported marijuana use but also were screened for marijuana — and he thinks the study findings are age-related, as the largest increase in marijuana use was among adolescents and young adults.
    As the study showed the highest increase in marijuana use among women 24 and younger, that age group might hold clues as to why there has been an overall increase, said Dr. Robyn Horsager-Boehrer, professor and chief of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Texas Southwestern’s William P. Clements Jr. University Hospital.
    “Think about marijuana use from their perspective, especially in Northern California. California legalized medical marijuana use in 1996, so they have grown up with the idea of it not only not being illegal but being a medical therapy,” said Horsager-Boehrer, who was not involved in the study.
    “With the proximity to Oregon and Washington, they also have experience with any use being legal,” she said. “So I think the idea that use is rising is just because of the greater legal exposure to marijuana that women have today versus 20 years ago.”
    Young-Wolff noted in her email that the study itself did not investigate reasons for the rise in marijuana use among pregnant women.

    Doctors warn against drinking, too

    Along with advising against marijuana use, doctors have long advised pregnant women to avoid drinking alcohol during pregnancy.
    As it turns out, the research remains unclear as to just how little a pregnant woman could drink without harming her child.
    But doctors in the US warn that drinking any alcohol while pregnant could come with medical risks, such as the possibility of miscarriage, stillbirth, or physical and behavioral problems in the baby.
    Guidelines in the United Kingdom also note that if you are pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant, the safest approach would be not to drink alcohol at all.

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    “I have found that women frequently fall into two groups during pregnancy. There are those who want to reduce risks of bad things happening to as close to zero as possible and improve outcomes any way they can. These women start folic acid, lose weight and reduce medication exposure of any kind before becoming pregnant. They absolutely don’t smoke, drink or use any drugs during pregnancy,” said Horsager-Boehrer, who is an editor of the Your Pregnancy Matters blog.
    “Then there’s the other group who take a more pragmatic view of pregnancy. They know there are potential risks involved with many decisions they make involving medication exposure, alcohol use and smoking, but they decide those risks are acceptable, especially if the risks are not well-defined or conclusive,” she said.
    “For individual patients, I think they need to ask themselves what their goals are for the pregnancy and how they are going to achieve them — essentially make a decision on which camp they are going to be in,” she said.

    Read more: http://edition.cnn.com/

    Mary JaneMore pregnant women are using pot, study finds
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    Overall teen drug use stable, but marijuana edging up, survey finds

    (CNN)Teen drinking, smoking and drug use overall are stable, but the percentage of teens using marijuana is increasing, according to a new report from the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research.

    This year’s edition of the Monitoring the Future report, an annual survey of drug and alcohol use and attitudes among Americaneighth-, 10th- and 12th-graders, found that the percentage of students who had used pot in the previous year increased to 24%, up 1.3% from 2016.
    Nearly 40% of all 12th-graders surveyed had used some sort of illicit drug in the past year, while 55.7% of them had used alcohol. Nearly 28% of 10th-graders had used an illicit drug, and 37.7% of them had alcohol in the past year. For eighth-graders, the percentage who had used illicit drugs in the previous year was just 12.9%, while 18.2% had had a drink.
      The study, which is in its 43rd year, assesses about 45,000 students from 380 public and private secondary schools across the country.

      Fewer teens see pot as dangerous

      The increase in marijuana use was enough to boost the percentage of teens who used illicit drugs overall. This is the first time in seven years that there has been a statistically significant increase in marijuana use, said Richard Miech, lead author of the studyand a research professor who studies drug use trends at the University of Michigan.
      However, rates for both marijuana and illicit drug use overall are still lower than their peak in 1997, when 42.7% of 12th-graders had used any illicit drug and 38.5% had used marijuana in the previous year. In fact, overall drug use has generally been trending downward for all three grades since 2013.
      Miech said the increases in marijuana use aren’t surprising.
      “Typically, as adolescents see less risk of marijuana use, the prevalence (of use) increases,” he said. “And today, levels of perceived risk from marijuana use are at the lowest levels we’ve ever seen in decades. “
      Last year’s survey found that 68.5% of 12th-graders disapproved of regular marijuana use. This year, that percentage dropped to 64.7%. Miech and his colleagues also found that high school seniors from states with medical marijuana laws were more likely to have vaped marijuana and consumed marijuana edibles than those in states that had more restrictive laws.
      Eight states and the District of Columbia have loosened laws on recreational marijuana use, according to NORML, a nonprofit geared toward marijuana law reform.
      The perception that marijuana is not dangerous has been driven in part by society, said Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, a part of the National Institutes of Health. Volkow’s group funded the study.”Certainly, that leads to the idea that the marijuana can not be so harmful.”
      In fact, more high school seniors now use marijuana on a daily basis than smoke cigarettes. When asked how frequently they had used in the past month, just 4.2% of 12th-graders said they smoked cigarettes every day, but 5.9% said they used marijuana.
      Both Miech and Volkow said increased marijuana use was somethingto be on the lookout for. “My fear is that we may be seeing the start of a long-term increase in marijuana use among youth,” Miech said.

      Vaping trends

      The survey also noted that while cigarette use continued to decline, nearly one in three 12th-graders had vaped over the past year. Vaping involves using an electronic cigarette, hookah or similar device and inhaling the vapors or aerosols. When asked what they had inhaled, over half of the seniors surveyed (51.8%) said they had used only flavored vaping liquids.
      What was even more striking was that 11.1% of high school seniors said they had vaped with marijuana or hash oil, and nearly a third had vaped with nicotine.
      “We are especially concerned, because the survey shows that some of the teens using these devices are first-time nicotine users,” Volkow said.
      Miech agreed: “There is considerable concern that vaping can led to use of cigarettes.” He pointed to a recent analysis published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics of nine studies that found that even when controlling for factors like impulse and perceived risk of smoking, teens who vaped were more likely to experiment with cigarettes in the future.

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      The rate of students vaping overall remained relatively the same as in 2016. However, 2017 was the first year the survey asked detailed questions about what substances students vaped.
      Though much of the larger national conversation about drugs has focused on opioid overdoses, teen use of heroin and prescription narcotics like oxycodone remains low, the survey found.

      Read more: http://edition.cnn.com/

      Mary JaneOverall teen drug use stable, but marijuana edging up, survey finds
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      Only one-third of marijuana extracts accurately labeled, researchers say

      (CNN)Medical marijuana is now legal in 29 states and the District of Columbia. But the law is not quite as black and white regarding marijuana extracts such as cannabidiol. CBD is one of the active ingredients in cannabis, increasingly thought to offer wide-ranging health benefits, with few side effects and little risk of addiction or abuse.

      “More and more evidence is coming out that CBD can be helpful for a variety of conditions, from anxiety to inflammation to seizures and epilepsy,” said Marcel Bonn-Miller, an adjunct assistant professor of psychology in psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania.
      No surprise, dozens of companies are jumping on the proverbial bandwagon, peddling these products to consumers who have high hopes that they will help treat myriad ailments, from chronic pain to PTSD.
        Even though medical marijuana is legal in more than half of US states, it remains illegal under federal law. As a result, the Food and Drug Administration does not regulate derivatives of the plant, including CBD extracts.
        Bonn-Miller believed that a “systematic evaluation” of the products on the market was needed so consumers would know exactly what they were buying. Today, “It’s the Wild West,” he said.
        For a study published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Bonn-Miller and his team bought 84 commercially available CBD products on the internet and had them chemically analyzed by an independent lab.
        The researchers found that only 31% of the products tested contained the precise amount of CBD advertised on the label (within the acceptable margin of error), while 26% contained less CBD than the label indicated and 43% contained more.
        Accuracy of labeling, it turned out, was also associated with product type. About half of the CBD extract oils were labeled inaccurately. Nearly 90% of the vaporization liquids were labeled inaccurately. Tinctures (alcoholic extracts) were roughly equally likely to be over-, under- or accurately labeled.

          The quick hit history of medical marijuana

        “Was I shocked? No,” Bonn-Miller said. “Was I disappointed? Yeah. It just got me thinking, we need oversight of this industry. … (It’s) one thing on the recreational side, but here we’re talking about something that people are using almost exclusively medicinally. You don’t get high off of CBD.”
        That’s what made another finding from the study stand out: “Concentration of unlabeled cannabinoids was generally low; however, THC was detected in 18 of the 84 samples tested,” according to the paper.
        THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, has its own medical applications but, unlike CBD, is psychoactive and can cause a “high.”
        Unknowingly ingesting THC, Bonn-Miller said, could result in side effects such as trouble sleeping and cognitive impairment. It could also have unintended consequences, such as positive drug tests.
        “As things stand now, the supplement industry overall is not regulated,” CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta said. “You don’t always know what you’re getting, how much you’re getting or even if the active ingredients are in there at all. With medical marijuana, it is almost the opposite situation at the federal level. It is highly regulated.”
        Bonn-Miller said increased regulation is exactly the kind of change he hopes his study will initiate.
        “If the FDA regulated this industry, we would be way better off,” he said. “They’re good at regulating things. When you go and buy a prescription at a pharmacy, you know what you’re getting. … (It’s the) same thing for food. When you get a pack of Doritos or a Hershey bar, you know what it is.”
        Perhaps in a sign of what’s to come, last week the FDA issued warning letters to four companies that the agency said are “illegally selling products (derived from marijuana) online that claim to prevent, diagnose, treat, or cure cancer without evidence to support these outcomes.”

        See the latest news and share your comments with CNN Health on Facebook and Twitter.

        Until these products are officially regulated, it’s buyer beware.
        Before purchasing any pot pills, potions or lotions, first check the laws where you live. Then, make sure you’re ordering from a reputable dealer. Don’t be fooled by bogus offers or sham celebrity endorsements.
        Unless you’re fully confident in the ingredients of the product, Bonn-Miller suggests following the adage “start low, go slow” — referring to dosage. Of course, your best bet is to always talk to your doctor before starting or stopping any medications or supplements, including CBD.

        Read more: http://edition.cnn.com/

        Mary JaneOnly one-third of marijuana extracts accurately labeled, researchers say
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        In Seattle US old-timers rediscover the high life on cannabis tours

        Retirement home residents take a trip to a producer

        Forget bingo, tea dances and seaside trips. Residents from a chain of Seattle retirement homes are going on Pot for Beginners tours to learn about and buy cannabis in the city, where its now legal.

        Connie Schick said her son roared with laughter when he heard she was joining a field trip to a cannabis-growing operation, an extraction plant and shop. The 79-year-old, who smoked the odd joint in the 70s, wanted to know how legalisation has changed the way the drug is used and produced.

        Schick was one of eight women, from their late 60s to mid-80s, who descended from a minibus emblazoned with the name of their assisted living centre, El Dorado West, outside Vela cannabis store last Tuesday.

        You can only play so many games of bingo, said Schick. My son thought it was hilarious that I was coming here, but Im open-minded and want to stay informed. Cannabis has come so far from the days when you smoked a sly joint and got into trouble if they found out. We used to call it hemp then and didnt know its strength. It just used to make me sleepy, so I didnt see the point.

        Schick, who uses a wheelchair after suffering a stroke, is interested in the therapeutic effects of cannabis. Its so different now. There are so many ways you can take it, and all these different types to help with aches and pains.

        They used to say it was a gateway drug to other things, like cocaine Lots of peoples views are changing.

        Certainly, the number of people aged 65 or older taking cannabis in the US is growing. The proportion of this age group who reported cannabis use in the past year rose more than tenfold from 0.2% to 2.1% between 2002 and 2014, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. A Gallup poll last year showed that 3% of those over 65 smoke cannabis.

        Much of this is attributed to the ageing of the baby-boomer generation, who dabbled with the drug when they were young and are returning to it for medical or recreational use as it becomes legal and more normalised. Cannabis is now legal for medical use in 29 states and for medical and recreational use in eight (since 2012 in Seattle and the rest of Washington state).

        Most of the women on the tour were more interested in the medical use, although Denise Roux, 67, said: I would like to buy it to get high too but Im a cheap high, it doesnt take much.

        A seminar over sandwiches was held for thegroup as they sat in front of the large windows of the cultivation room, where they could see scores of plants growing under intense lighting.

        They were told about the different strains: uplifting sativa plants and more sedating indicas. They learned about tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which gives a high, and cannabidiol (CBD) which does not, making CBD-rich cannabis appealing for medical use. A scientist in a lab coat who worked in the processing facility spoke about terpenes fragrant oils secreted by glands in the flower that give strains their different smells and flavours. Vials were sniffed and various ways to take cannabis were also covered, including smoking, vaporising and eating it.

        Roux, a retired administrative assistant, said: Im a big Google girl, but I wanted to talk to people who know about it so I can understand it all better. I have an autoimmune disease, which stops my appetite, and Im interested in marijuana from that standpoint. She added she had used cannabis recreationally in the 80s and had returned to it to help with her illness. I use a vape. It makes me sleepy and its a pain control, and it gives me an appetite.

        After the briefing, it was time for shopping. The store looked like an upmarket jewellers, with muted lighting and art on the walls, except the glass cabinets in the store were stocked with pre-rolled joints, edibles including chocolates and sweets, vape pens and bags of different strains of cannabis rather than diamond rings and necklaces.

        Darlene Johnson, 85, a former nurse, perused their contents. On the advice of a bearded bud tender, she bought a deep tissue and joint gel and a tincture to put in drinks, which she hopes will help with her severe neck pain. I wanted a non-psychoactive option, she said. I dont want to get high. I used to work in the emergency room and saw people come in sick from taking too many drugs, though not usually marijuana.

        Her friend, Nancy Mitchell, 80, has never tried cannabis. She has MS and had read that cannabis could help with her symptoms. I wanted to know more details, she said. My kids keep telling me, Mom, try it. I dont want to smoke things, but I see there are other ways.

        Smoking is not allowed at El Dorado West. Village Concepts, which runs the chain, has a no-smoking policy and it is illegal to consume cannabis in public in the state.

        The chains director of corporate development, Tracy Willis, said: There was one man who was smoking it on his patio and he refused to stop, so he had to leave. If youre using an edible, we dont have any issue with it, thats your own business. We treat it as a recreational thing.

        The tours began in response to questions from residents.They wanted to know where it was sold, how much money was made from it, where it was grown, said Willis. Weve had a good reaction [to the tours] from nine out of 10 relatives, but some are horrified. One angry daughter said we were encouraging marijuana use. Her mother told her to butt out.

        Participants
        Participants on the tour learned about different ways to use cannabis. Photograph: Jason Redmond/Reuters

        Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/jul/01/seattle-retirement-home-cannabis-tours

        Mary JaneIn Seattle US old-timers rediscover the high life on cannabis tours
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        133% leap in children admitted to ER for marijuana, study finds

        (CNN)As attitudes about marijuana shift around the world, researchers are warning parents that it’s risky to keep it around children, especially those who are too young to know what it is.

        The number of children who were admitted to emergency rooms forunintentional marijuana intoxication increased by 133% in France over an 11-year period, according to a new study.
        Marijuana intoxication can occur when a child accidentally ingests a marijuana product or inhales marijuana smoke. Symptoms can vary based on the child’s age and size but often include sleepiness, difficulty breathing, seizures or even coma. Effects usually last six to 24 hours.
          Cannabis is illegal in France, but it has the highest rate of marijuana use in Europe, said Dr. Isabelle Claudet, lead author of the study, published Monday in the journal Pediatrics.
          “And that means we are facing an increase in emergency admissions of marijuana intoxication and an increase in severe symptoms seen in children,” said Claudet, a pediatric emergency physician in Toulouse.
          She and other researchers analyzed the number of Frenchchildren under 6 admitted to pediatric emergency departments because of unintentional cannabis intoxication and the number of cannabis-related calls involving children to French poison control centers.
          From 2004 to 2014, 235 children were admitted to ERs with cannabis intoxication, and there was a 133% increase in the admissions rate for it. The number of calls to poison control centers related to cannabis exposure in children increased by 312% in the same period.
          What concerns Claudet the most is that the concentration of the psychoactive chemical tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, has been increasing in cannabis products in France.
          “THC concentration in cannabis products has increased from 9% in 2004 to 20% in 2014,” she said. “I believe that’s why we’re facing more adverse effects in children.”
          Over the 11-year span, the severity of symptoms in children admitted to emergency departments because of marijuana intoxication also increased.
          Twenty times more severe cases were reported in 2014 compared with 2004, and and four times more severe cases were reported in 2014 compared with 2013. Of the 32 children reported to have gone into comas, 53% were admitted in 2014, and there were more cannabis-related admissions than any other type of pediatric emergency room admission.
          The main cannabis product circulating on the French market is hashish or cannabis resin, a solid and very concentrated form of cannabis extract, usually sold in the form of sticks or balls. Users break off pieces, roll them in tobacco papers and smoke them.
          Claudet believes the best way to decrease the number of pediatric marijuana intoxication cases in France is to decrease the concentration of THC in cannabis through regulation.
          “And we have to also warn consumers and parents that it could be very dangerous for children to eat such products,” she said. “Because usually, parents think it’s not very harmful because they’re smoking it, and it relaxes them. But if a child ingests one stick or ball, they can become comatose.”

          What about children in the US?

          Recreational marijuana is legal in eight US states and the District of Columbia, and medical marijuana is legal in 29 states and D.C. Cannabis product trends in the United States are quite different from those in France, though high concentration of THC is still a concern, especially in edible products.
          “The results of this Pediatrics study also makes sense with what we’ve been seeing in Colorado. With the marijuana industry increasing, there’s a lot of new products, a lot of concentrated products, that people vape or ingest, like the edible products, that are high in THC,” said Dr. G. Sam Wang, a pediatric toxicologist at Children’s Hospital Colorado in Aurora.
          “And so we’ve been seeing a lot of kids who are more symptomatic and more intoxicated,” said Wang, who was not involved in the French research.
          Wang has conducted several studies of US trends in pediatric marijuana intoxication, as well as trends in Colorado.
          He found that in states where recreational or medical marijuana is legal, the number of pediatric marijuana intoxication cases reported to poison control centers increased by 30% each year from 2005 to 2011. Children in states where marijuana was legal had more severe symptoms and were more likely to be admitted to a critical care unit compared with those in states where marijuana was not legal.
          In his Colorado study, Wang found that in the two years leading up to when recreational marijuana became legally available for purchase in 2014 and the two years after, rates of marijuana exposure cases in children increased. On average each year, there was a 34% increase in calls to poison control centers about marijuana exposures in Colorado and a 19% increase across the US. Forty-eight percent of the cases in Colorado were attributed to the ingestion of an edible marijuana product.
          Wang said the higher number of cases in states where marijuana is legal can in part be attributed to the increased availability of marijuana products and the attractiveness of edible product labels, which often look like normal candy or cakes to a child.
          “Usually, kids get into things that become more available, and usually, that happens when it’s a household product, like those laundry detergent pods, which were attractive,” Wang said. “It’s kind of the same situation with marijuana, where we think in states with legal marijuana, probably more households have it in their home, especially the food or edible marijuana products with bright labels, that makes it easier for kids to get into them.”
          The US National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, or NORML, says that it is concerned about the inadvertent ingestion of cannabis products by children in both the US and France but that more regulation could help provide a solution: “It is our contention that the frequency of these incidences can be mitigated by the imposition of stricter regulatory controls, such as more stringent and overt product labeling and by limiting such products to single serving sizes.”

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          Wang believes the key to ensuring the safety of children living around marijuana products is a combination of outreach and education. He tells parents to treat the marijuana like any other prescription or over-the-counter drug and keep it out of reach of children.
          “Parents need to understand that kids can actually get sick from this stuff,” he said.
          Several states with legal recreational marijuana, including Colorado, Oregon and Washington state, have also made child-resistant packaging a requirement for certain products.
          Wang thinks this is also a step in the right direction, especially as other states or countries may be looking to legalize marijuana.
          “They need to think about the unintended consequences of legalization, such as marijuana intoxication in children. So whether that’s education, packaging regulations, dose regulations,” he said. “Colorado had some of that in the beginning of legalization, but we also made mistakes. But I’m hoping that other places can learn from those mistakes and implement programs or rules at the outset.”

          Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/08/14/health/marijuana-intoxication-children-france-study/index.html

          Mary Jane133% leap in children admitted to ER for marijuana, study finds
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