HealthDay News — Following cannabis legalization in Canada, provinces that permitted edible cannabis sales experienced much larger increases in hospitalizations for unintentional pediatric poisoning, according to a study published online January 13 in JAMA Health Forum.

Daniel T. Myran, MD, MPH, from the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute in Ontario, Canada, and colleagues examined changes in the proportions of all-cause hospitalizations for poisoning due to cannabis in children during three legalization periods: prelegalization (January 2015 to September 2018); legalization of dried flowers only in all provinces (period 1: October 2018 to December 2019); and legalization of all edibles in three provinces and restriction in one province (exposed and control provinces; period 2: January 2020 to September 2021).

The researchers found that the rate of all-cause poisoning hospitalizations due to cannabis poisoning was 57.42 and 38.50 per 1000 in the exposed and control provinces, respectively, before legalization. During period 1, there was an increase observed in the rate of poisoning hospitalizations to 149.71 and 117.52 per 1000 in the exposed and control provinces, respectively (incidence rate ratios [95% CI], 2.55 [1.88 to 3.46] and 3.05 [1.82 to 5.11], respectively). During period 2, there was a more than twofold increase seen in the rate of poisoning hospitalizations due to cannabis in the exposed provinces, while the rate remained stable in the control province (318.04 vs 137.93 per 1000; incidence rate ratios [95% CI], 2.16 [1.68 to 2.80] and 1.18 [0.71 to 1.97], respectively).

“Placing restrictions on the sale of visually attractive and palatable commercial cannabis edibles is a key strategy and policy consideration for preventing unintentional pediatric cannabis poisonings for the US and other countries considering legalization of recreational cannabis,” the authors write.

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