Pediatric Concerns Due to Expanded Cannabis Use: Unintended Consequences of Legalization

Abstract

An “unintended consequence” of marijuana legalization is the impact on the pediatric population. From prenatal exposure to unintentional childhood exposures, through concerns of adolescence abuse and marijuana use for medicinal indications in children, marijuana exposure can affect pediatric patients at every stage in childhood. Regardless of the stage or reason of exposure, concerns exist about short-term and long-term consequences in a child’s physical and mental health. The use of cannabidiol (CBD) may have some benefit for the treatment of epilepsy, but emphasis needs to be on rigorous clinical trials to evaluate efficacy and safety. As more states allow both medical and recreational marijuana, availability and prevalence of use will likely increase and more surveillance and research is needed to evaluate the consequences on the pediatric population.

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Acknowledgements

I have a Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment grant, evaluating the Pharmacokinetics of cannabidiol (CBD) in pediatric epilepsy. I also receive royalties from UpToDate for authorship contributions.

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Correspondence to George Sam Wang.

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Previously presented at the ACMT Seminars in Forensic Toxicology: A Legal “Potpourri” in Denver, Colorado, December 2015.

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Wang, G.S. Pediatric Concerns Due to Expanded Cannabis Use: Unintended Consequences of Legalization. J. Med. Toxicol. 13, 99–105 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13181-016-0552-x

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Keywords

  • Marijuana
  • Cannabis
  • Cannabidiol
  • Pediatrics
  • Adolescents
  • Breastfeeding
  • Pregnancy