More Colorado kids in hospital for marijuana since legalization, study says

States considering legalizing pot should think about ways to protect children, study author says.

Story highlights

  • More Colorado poison-control calls for kids and marijuana were made in 2014-2015 than 4 previous years
  • Authors: Numbers low compared to other exposures, though pot availability also low -- and rising

(CNN)As freedom to buy and use pot in Colorado has expanded, so has the number of children who've needed medical treatment for accidental exposure to marijuana, a study reports.

The number of Colorado children who've been reported to a poison control center or examined at a hospital for unintentional marijuana exposure annually has spiked since the state legalized recreational cannabis in 2014, according to the study, published this week in JAMA Pediatrics.
Eighty-seven cases of children ages 9 and younger ingesting, inhaling or otherwise exposed to cannabis were called in to the state's regional poison control center from 2014 through 2015 -- more than the 76 total cases in the four years preceding legalization, the study says.
    Exposure-related visits for the same age range also rose at Children's Hospital Colorado in Aurora: 32 visits for the first two years after legalization, against 30 visits for the four years prior, according to the study.
    Nearly half of the hospital visits since 2009 involved edibles such as brownies and candies. And almost half of the hospital cases in 2014 and 2015 involved recreational, as opposed to medical, marijuana, said the study led by