Research finds alarming rise in emergency department visits among young people due to marijuana

The use of marijuana among kids and young adults has become a major concern, leading to a significant rise in emergency department visits. A recent study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed some alarming statistics. Prior to 2020, children under 10 years old visited emergency rooms due to cannabis use approximately 18 to 23 times a week. However, between 2020 and 2022, that number skyrocketed to as high as 71.5 weekly visits. Even children between the ages of 11 to 14 experienced a 50% increase in emergency trips, with females suffering more injuries than males.

Despite the increases, more than 90% of marijuana-involved emergency department visits by people under the age of 25 occurred among those aged 15 to 24 years. This surge coincides with the increasing legalization of cannabis in various states across the country. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, nearly one in five Americans aged 12 and older used marijuana in 2021.

Researchers noted that marijuana has become more potent, and certain products with higher concentrations of THC, such as vapes and dabs, have become more popular among adolescents and young adults. The situation is further complicated by the resemblance of THC-containing edibles to products that appeal to children, like candy. The Food and Drug Administration issued a consumer alert in 2022, cautioning about the dangers of accidental ingestion of THC-containing edibles among young children.

The study’s authors underscore the severity of the issue, reporting a staggering 1375% increase in cases of edible cannabis ingestion among children under six years old from 2017 to 2021. These findings indicate a pressing need for increased awareness, education, and prevention efforts to address the rise in marijuana-related incidents among young populations.