Public Health and Safety

Ontario Canada: Pediatric Cannabis Exposure Cases On The Rise

Pediatric cannabis exposures have increased by nearly 300 percent in Ontario Canada since 2016. Canada legalized marijuana (raw flower only) in 2018. This was expanded in 2020 to include sales of cannabis infused edible products.  In turn, Emergency Department (ED) health care providers in Ontario have seen an increase in child patients, ages 0 -9 years (mean age of 3.8 yrs), being treated for exposure to marijuana products. 

Released in JAMA Network (JAMA Netw Open. Januray 7, 2022) the authors cite the introduction of the edibles to the marketplace was instrumental in the increase observed in admissions and severity of symptoms in the children. The rate for the Ontario pediatric exposures was found to be seven times higher when compared to those found in Colorado after adult use / commercial marijuana was legalized in the 2012 elections. 

This report involved a review of 2.35 million children records in Ontario between January 1, 2016 to March 31, 2021 and an associated 522 cannabis exposure cases.

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Photo: / A. Romansa

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