- A new JAMA Open report shows an uptick in cannabis-related Poison Control calls between 2017 and 2019.
- Calls came mainly from adults, but teens and young children also comprised a large number of calls.
- Cannabis flower was the main source of poison-related calls. Vapes and edibles were also common culprits.
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An increasing number of people are calling into Poison Control centers after accidentally consuming too much cannabis, in the form of edibles, vapes, cannabis flower, and tinctures, according to a report in the journal JAMA Open.
28,630 people called Poison Control between January 2017 and December 2019, according to data collected from the National Poison Data System. Adults 21 or older were most likely to call, and 38.5% of calls from poisoned adults were due to manufactured cannabis products like edibles and vapes.
34.5% of calls concerned patients in the 10 to 20 age range, while 27% of calls concerned patients under 10.
The majority of calls came from healthcare facilities on behalf of reportedly poisoned people, not individuals’ homes.
The report didn’t specify the symptoms callers felt when they or their healthcare providers alerted Poison Control, but common negative reactions to THC, the psychoactive component of cannabis, include a racing heart, nausea, vomiting, paranoia, dizziness, and impaired thinking and coordination, Insider previously reported.
As more states legalize cannabis for adult and medicinal purposes, reports of overuse could increase, the researchers who penned the report wrote. They said non-flower cannabis products, like vapes, tinctures, and edibles are of heightened concern because they were the most common causes for reported poisonings, and previous evidence suggests these products could have dangerous additives.
Experts warn that vape additives and potent cannabis flower can injure the lungs
In 2019, the CDC reported a sharp uptick in reported cases of a condition called EVALL or, vape and e-cigarette-related lung injuries. Further investigation revealed many of these products are manufactured with additives like vitamin E.
It’s possible that some of these ingredients don’t completely vaporize, Insider previously reported. When users inhale a vape’s aerosol, fluid can enter the lungs and build up, causing rare forms of pneumonia reported in many of the vape-related hospitalizations.
In the new Poison Control report, 3.8% of calls were related to weed vaporizer use, while 19.3% were related to edibles and 65.5% were related to flower.
According to the report authors, the high potency of many of today’s cannabis strains could explain the uptick in calls.
“Applying regulatory controls to market-driven innovations in potency and additives is key,” they wrote.
“Novice cannabis users are often advised to ‘start low, go slow’; this guidance may be equally applicable to regulating new retail cannabis markets and products.”