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article imageStudy investigates effects of decriminalizing marijuana

By W. Mark Dendy     Feb 5, 2014 in Health
Denver - The effects of marijuana are well established.
But a new study looked at a societal aspect of legalizing marijuana — the details of call volume to U.S. poison centers from January 2005 through December 2011.
In 1996, California became the first state to decriminalize marijuana for medical purposes. Since then, medical marijuana has been legalized through legislation in a total of 20 states and the District of Columbia.
What the new study found was that "call rate to poison centers in states that decriminalized marijuana increased by more than 30 percent per year between 2005 and 2011, while the call rate in non-legal states did not change."
Lead study author George Sam Wang, MD, of the Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Center in Denver, CO said, that the research team believes that high dose edibles such as cookies and candies "may have played a significant role in the increased rate of reported exposure chiefly because kids can't distinguish between products that contain marijuana and those that don't."
Edible products, according to Wang, "contain higher concentrations of the active ingredient, tetrahydrocannabinol."
Wang said that as marijuana is legalized in more states, lawmakers need to consider requirements such as child-resistant packaging, warning labels, and public education.
The study will be published Feb.5 on-line in the Annals of Emergency Medicine.
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