Kids ER Visits Increase in Relation to Cannabis Edibles

By New Frontier Analysts

A new study from the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus has found an increase in Emergency Room visits and poison control calls for children due to accidentally consuming cannabis-infused edibles. Nearly twice as many children visited the Children’s Hospital Colorado ER in 2014 and 2015, while annual poison-control cases have increased five-fold.

According to Dr. Sam Wang, the study’s lead author, the increase in ER visits was expected, but the poison-control calls have been a bit of a surprise. Overall numbers, however, remain relatively low compared to other accidental exposures. Sixteen children, ages 9 and under, went to the Children’s ER for accidental cannabis exposure in 2015. The amount of exposure cases account for about six out of every 1,000 emergency visits, and nearly two out of every 1,000 for cannabis related poison-control calls.

Researchers noted that it was exactly these types of accidental cannabis exposure to children that policy-makers and regulators were hoping to prevent when they passed rules on labeling and packaging. Currently, Colorado requires all cannabis packaging to be childproof, and more rules expected to go into effect will mandate all products be labeled with a special symbol.

Another law passed this year will soon ban cannabis-infused edibles that consist of animal or fruit-like shapes. Dr. Wang believes the special symbol will do little to curtail accidental cannabis exposure and expects an increase in ER visits as the recreational market continues to grow.

As lawmakers and regulators continue their efforts to curb accidental cannabis exposure to minors, this study in Colorado could become ammo for opposition groups. Concern for cannabis exposure towards children has been discussed on both ends for support and opposition for legalization. The study will provide insight into the anticipated rate at which accidental exposure of cannabis-infused consumables and edibles towards children will be seen in states with recreational cannabis markets.

New Frontier Analysts

Our data scientists drill deep with rigorous analytics to provide insight into key trends and market opportunities. We track the state of cannabis and its regulation in all major legal markets.


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