America’s teens have a new drug of choice.
According to a new study, calls to poison control centers about cannabis abuse among children have more than tripled since 2000 – as alcohol abuse fell over the same period.
The study, published Monday in the peer-reviewed journal Clinical Toxicology, found a 245 percent increase in cannabis abuse calls or abuse among people between the ages of 6 and 18, an increase from 510 reported cases in 2000 to 1,761 cases in 2020 corresponds.
The researchers behind the study — who examined calls to poison control center hotlines across the country — said that cases of marijuana exposure have been rising steadily since 2011 and have seen an even larger increase since 2017, coinciding with the legalization of adult marijuana .
They also said that edible cannabis products – like cookies and gummies – have led to a dramatic increase in calls to poison control centers.
“Our study describes an upward trend in marijuana abuse among adolescents, particularly those involving edibles,” said Dr. Adrienne Hughes, an assistant professor of emergency medicine at Oregon Health & Science University and a co-author of the study, in a statement.
“Compared to smoking cannabis, which typically results in an instant high, intoxication from edible forms of marijuana typically lasts for several hours, which can lead some individuals to consume larger amounts and experience unexpected and unpredictable highs,” added she added.
The study — which reports on national trends — comes just weeks after New York began licensing Leal cannabis dealers.
The Empire State is one of 21 states that have legalized recreational cannabis.
Hughes and her co-authors argue that the wave of legalization – allowing adult use of cannabis – has made the drug more accessible to children and adolescents.
“These findings underscore a continuing concern about the impact of rapidly evolving cannabis legalization on this vulnerable demographic,” she said.
The rise in cannabis abuse among young Americans reflected a downward trend in alcohol abuse.
Alcohol was the most commonly abused substance in 2000 data, surpassing reports of underage cannabis abuse every year through 2013.
“Since 2014, marijuana exposure cases have exceeded [alcohol] Cases per year and each year up year over year,” Hughes said.
Across all substances, the researchers found over 338,000 cases of intentional misuse or abuse in American children ages 6 to 18. The researchers clarified that while poison centers reported 57,488 incidents involving children between the ages of 6 and 12, most consisted of misuse of vitamins, plants, melatonin and hand sanitizer — not “traditional” drugs.
Fatalities were also included but rare. According to the study, 450 deaths were reported in the data, most of which, 286, were linked to opioid abuse, the researchers said.
Meanwhile, a study of illegally available cannabis on the street found that its potency has increased dramatically.
A leaked version of the University of Washington study found that THC levels, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, have increased from 4% to more than 15% in drugs seized by authorities since the 1990s, according to the Daily Mail.
The Washington University report explained that the huge increase in THC levels was only possible by crossing the plants in a specific way.
Beatriz Carlini, who worked on the report, pointed out that “botanical cannabis plants have a limit on the percentage of THC” but commercial processes “transform the plant into something else,” warning that research suggests that cannabis with higher potency increases the risk of addiction and psychiatric disorders.
https://nypost.com/2022/12/05/poison-control-calls-reporting-kids-using-cannabis-up-245-study/ Poison controls report children using cannabis by 245%: study