Arizona poison centers report 90% increase in pediatric marijuana exposures in 2021, with many involving toddlers ingesting edible products; marijuana can cause prolonged neurologic, respiratory depression in kids under 5 years of age requiring intubation

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PHOENIX/TUCSON, Arizona , March 11, 2022 (press release) –

The two poison centers of Arizona have noticed a significant increase in calls related to marijuana reported from both laypersons and health care professionals. Many of these calls are coming from emergency rooms and involve accidental exposures of edible marijuana products in toddlers. Most of these ingestions result in significant effects and require hospital admission. 

“Many of the accidental ingestions that we hear about involve little kids getting into edible marijuana products that look like candy or other snacks,” says Dr. Steven Dudley, PharmD, DABAT, director of the Tucson Poison Center. ”Learning about safe storage can save parents a ton of grief and prevent a trip to the hospital.” 

Young children, particularly those five and under, can have prolonged neurologic and respiratory depression that requires intubation (placement on a breathing machine) and intensive care unit admission. 

According to Maureen Roland, RN, director of the Phoenix Poison Center, pediatric exposures to marijuana products have doubled in the last year. ”We hope to work more with representatives of state agencies, dispensaries, and other related groups to improve the safety of marijuana products, including packaging and storing,” stated Roland. 

If you have any questions about marijuana, or other questions about poisonings, medications, or chemicals, please call the poison center immediately at 1-800-222-1222.

The poison and drug information centers at the University of Arizona College of Pharmacy in Tucson, and at Banner – University Medical Center Phoenix, provide free and confidential poison and drug information to the public and health care professionals. The hotlines operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The two centers serve all of Arizona and are part of 55 centers across the nation that are accredited by American Association of Poison Control Centers. Call (800) 222-1222 from any location to reach the poison center nearest you.

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