Please review the entire reports from the following research summaries.
Unintentional Cannabis Intoxication in Toddlers
“CONCLUSIONS: Children are collateral victims of changing trends in cannabis use and a prevailing THC concentration. Intoxicated children are more frequent, are younger, and have intoxications that are more severe. This raises a real issue of public health.
“BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: In France, cannabis consumption is illegal. The health impact of its increasing use and higher tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentrations is still poorly documented, particularly that of unintentional pediatric intoxications. We sought to evaluate the French national trend of admissions for unintentional cannabis intoxication in children over an 11-year period (2004–2014).
“METHODS: A retrospective, national, multicenter, observational study of a pediatric cohort. All children aged <6 years admitted to a tertiary-level pediatric emergency department (PED) for proven cannabis intoxication (compatible symptoms and positive toxicological screening results) during the reference period were included.
“RESULTS: Twenty-four PEDs participated in our study; 235 children were included, and 71% of the patients were 18 months old or younger. Annual admissions increased by a factor of 13. Hashish resin was the main form ingested (72%). During the study period, the evolution was characterized by a national increase in intoxications, younger intoxicated children (1.28 ± 0.4 vs 1.7 ± 0.7 years, P = .005), and more comas (n = 38) (P = .05, odds ratio 3.5 [1.02–11.8]). Compared with other intoxications, other PED admissions, and the same age population, cannabis-related admissions were greater. There was a potential link between the increased incidence of comas and increased THC concentration in resin seized in France over the period.
[Unintentional Cannabis Intoxication in Toddlers, by Isabelle Claudet, et al, for the Marie-Jeanne Study Group, J of Pediatrics, Sept 2017, VOLUME 140 / ISSUE 3]
“Research Summary: Marijuana is a green, brown, or gray mix of dried, crumbled parts from the marijuana plant. It can be rolled up and smoked like a cigarette or cigar or smoked in a pipe. Sometimes people mix it in food or inhale it using a vaporizer.
“Marijuana can cause problems with memory, learning, and behavior. Smoking it can cause some of the same coughing and breathing problems as smoking cigarettes. Some people get addicted to marijuana after using it for a while. It is more likely to happen if they use marijuana every day, or started using it when they were teenagers.
“Some states have approved “medical marijuana” to ease symptoms of various health problems. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved the marijuana plant as a medicine. However, there have been scientific studies of cannabinoids, the chemicals in marijuana. This has led to two FDA-approved medicines. They contain THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. They treat nausea caused by chemotherapy and increase appetite in patients who have severe weight loss from HIV/AIDS. Scientists are doing more research with marijuana and its ingredients to treat many diseases and conditions.
[NIH: National Institute on Drug Abuse, Medline Plus, MedlinePlus is the National Institutes of Health’s Web site for patients and their families and friends. Produced by the National Library of Medicine, the world’s largest medical library]
American College of Pediatricians – April 2017 Statement: Marijuana Use Is Detrimental to Youth
“Introduction: Federal Law has prohibited the manufacture, sale, and distribution of marijuana for more than 70 years. However, with the discovery of potential medicinal properties of marijuana and the increasing misperception that the drug is harmless, there have arisen increased efforts to achieve its broad legalization despite persistent problems of abuse. Medical use of marijuana has prompted many states to establish programs for sale of medically-prescribed marijuana. As public perception of marijuana’s safety has grown, some states have also passed voter-approved referenda legalizing recreational use of marijuana by adults. The result has been the same: limited legalization has led to greater availability of marijuana to youth.
“ABSTRACT: Although increasing legalization of marijuana has contributed to the growing belief that marijuana is harmless, research documents the risks of its use by youth are grave. Marijuana is addicting, has adverse effects upon the adolescent brain, is a risk for both cardio-respiratory disease and testicular cancer, and is associated with both psychiatric illness and negative social outcomes.
Evidence indicates limited legalization of marijuana has already raised rates of unintended marijuana exposure among young children, and may increase adolescent use. Those who used medical marijuana had an earlier age of regular marijuana use, and more marijuana abuse and dependence symptoms than those who did not use medical marijuana. A recent article in the Journal of the American Medical Association, noted there is very little scientific evidence to support the use of medical marijuana. The main active chemical in marijuana is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Marijuana over activates the endocannabinoid system, causing the high and other effects that users experience.
These effects include distorted perceptions, psychotic symptoms, difficulty with thinking and problem solving, disrupted learning and memory, and impaired reaction time, attention span, judgment, balance and coordination. THC suppresses neurons in the information-processing system of the hippocampus, thus learned behaviors, dependent on the hippocampus, also deteriorate. Participants who used cannabis heavily in their teens and continued through adulthood showed a significant drop in IQ between the ages of 13 and 38 – an average of eight points for those who met criteria for cannabis dependence. A number of studies have shown an association between chronic marijuana use and mental illness. Therefore, the American College of Pediatricians supports legislation that continues to restrict the availability of marijuana except in the context of well controlled scientific studies which demonstrate medicinal benefit together with evidence-based guidelines for optimal routes of delivery and dosing for specific medical conditions. The College encourages parents to take advantage of the “family table,” and to become involved in drug abuse prevention programs in the community or in the child’s school in order to minimize the risk of their children experimenting with drug use.