Cannabis edibles can poison older people, study finds

Credit: Unsplash+

The legalization of cannabis and the growing popularity of its edible forms are having an unexpected effect: an increase in emergency department visits among seniors due to overdoses.

A recent Canadian study revealed that “cannabis poisonings” in Ontario tripled among older users after the legalization of edibles, compared to the period before legalization.

Dr. Nathan Stall and his team from Sinai Health and the University Health Network in Toronto led the study, which was published on May 20 in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.

Their research highlighted the health outcomes of cannabis legalization and commercialization for older adults, emphasizing the significant consequences associated with edible cannabis.

The study examined Ontario Ministry of Health data on emergency department admissions for cannabis poisoning across three distinct time periods. The first period, from January 2015 to September 2018, was before marijuana legalization in the province.

The second period, from October 2018 to December 2019, followed the legalization of cannabis in the form of dried marijuana. The third period, from January 2020 to December 2022, marked the availability of edibles.

During these periods, there were over 2,300 emergency department visits for cannabis poisonings among older adults, with an average age of 69.5 years.

The study found that the rate of emergency visits during the initial legalization period was double that of the pre-legalization period, and the rate tripled after edibles became available.

While the exact role of edibles in this sharp rise in poisonings is unclear, the researchers noted that access to legal marijuana was also expanding during this time.

However, edibles do increase the risk of accidental ingestion, and many of these products lack age-adjusted usage instructions.

Older adults are particularly vulnerable to adverse effects from cannabis due to their age, the fact that many take multiple medications that could lead to drug interactions, and any existing underlying health conditions.

The study pointed out that jurisdictions with legalized cannabis should consider implementing measures to prevent unintentional exposure in older adults and provide age-specific dosing guidance.

In summary, the research underscores the need for heightened awareness and tailored safety measures for older adults as the landscape of cannabis use evolves.

This includes better labeling, clear dosing instructions, and public health initiatives to educate seniors about the risks associated with cannabis, particularly in edible forms.

If you care about cannabis, please read studies that what you need to know about cannabis and heart attack, and CBD from cannabis may help inhibit COVID-19 infection.

For more information about cannabis, please see recent studies that medical cannabis could help reduce depression, and results showing this stuff in cannabis may protect aging brain, treat Alzheimer’s.

The research findings can be found in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Copyright © 2024 Knowridge Science Report. All rights reserved.