A study from Nationwide Children’s Hospital has found that the reported number of children under 6 years old exposed to marijuana increased 147.5% between 2006 and 2013.
While the total number of reported cases was not very high — 1,969 children between 2000 and 2013 — what concerns doctors is the rapid increase. The study reported that the rate of exposure increased by 610% in states where medical marijuana was legalized before 2000. While this is a very high percentage, the reason behind it isn’t exceptionally astounding, as it makes sense that weed would be ingested where it was found.
The main reason for this spike is human error — idiot adults who leave their edibles lying around in reach of kids under 6, whose main passion in life is putting stuff in their mouths. Sadly, the study found that more than 75% of the children exposed to marijuana were less than 3 years old.
However, it is only fair to mention that there are much more harmful things that children could, and are, ingesting due to negligent adults.
According to statistics by the National Capital Poison Center, in 2013 alone there were 16,655 reported poisonings of children under 6 years old from common household items, including cosmetics, cleaning products, and pain medications. In fact, in 2013 alone, there were 1,495 reported cases of a child under 6 ingesting adult pain medications. Given that this study found that 1,969 children were exposed to cannabis over the course of thirteen years, this should put these new findings into perspective. And let’s be honest — it is much safer for a child under 6 to accidentally ingest weed than prescription pain medications, let alone bleach.
According to the study, most children exposed to marijuana just experienced mild effects such as drowsiness, lethargy, lack of coordination, and confusion, with the effects lasting between two hours and one day. And let me repeat, to this day, no person regardless of age has ever died from a marijuana overdose.
While in the grand scheme, none of the reported side effects seem like a very big deal, it’s definitely not fair to the child who has no idea why sneaking a cookie resulted in a scary existential crisis. So come on, America, take responsibility for your children, and yourself. Do whatever it takes to keep your weed away from your kids — though it won’t kill them, it may freak them out, and it will hurt the political cause for legalization.