(CTN News) – Cannabis is a plant used to make marijuana, a psychoactive substance. Although it is often used for therapeutic and recreational purposes, it may also harm the user.
Impaired memory and attention, elevated heart rate and heart attack risk, and possible detrimental impacts on mental health, such as an elevated risk of anxiety, sadness, and psychosis, are just a few of these bad consequences.
It’s also crucial to remember that marijuana has a history of addiction and dependency.
A new paper has revealed 338,727 intentional misuses and abuse for children aged 6 to 18.
In the United States, marijuana usage among teenagers has climbed by 245% since 2000, according to new research published in Clinical Toxicology, whereas alcohol abuse has decreased within the same time frame.
338,000 incidents of purposeful abuse or misuse of American children between the ages of 6 and 18 were discovered in the research, which followed intentional misuse and abuse reported to the National Poison Data System (NPDS) until 2020.
More than 80% of all reported cases were teens between 13 and 18, with men accounting for the bulk of cases (58.3%). More than 32% of these situations had “worse than modest clinical consequences.”
The updated study shows how trends have evolved. For instance, dextromethorphan was the drug about which the most reports were made throughout the research period, although its use peaked in 2006 and has subsequently declined.
Furthermore, exposure to ethanol was a factor in a disproportionately high number of abuse cases in 2000, but juvenile alcohol abuse has consistently decreased over time.
Contrarily, the number of marijuana exposure cases increased continuously between 2011 and 2017 before increasing even more sharply from 2017 to 2020.
The rising popularity of edible cannabis products, which are now readily accessible throughout the nation, is blamed by experts who analyzed the data for the spike in marijuana usage.
According to one of the study’s authors, Dr. Adrienne Hughes, Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine at Oregon Health & Science University, “Ethanol misuse cases outpaced the number of marijuana cases every year from 2000 through 2013.”
But by 2014, this pattern had changed.
According to Hughes, marijuana exposure instances have surpassed ethanol exposure cases yearly since 2014 and by a larger margin than the year before.
While marijuana usage rates across the board rose, edible marijuana exhibited the biggest average monthly rise compared to all other forms, indicating that teenagers have switched from smoking marijuana to other forms of consumption.
Many people use marijuana extracts like those found in cannabis vaping devices.
According to Hughes, these edible and vaping goods are often advertised in ways that appeal to young people and are seen as more inconspicuous and practical.
Nevertheless, even though they could be considered less dangerous, studies demonstrate this is not the case.
According to Hughes, intoxication from edible forms of marijuana normally takes many hours as opposed to smoking cannabis, which typically produces an instant high. Consequently, some people may consume more and experience unexpected and unpredictable highs.
Since 2017, there has been a sharp rise in children using cannabis, which is in line with a wave of decriminalization laws in the US. By 2022, 36 states will allow the medicinal use of cannabis, while 19 states will allow adult recreational use.
The authors of the researchers contend that despite cannabis being only legal for adults and not for children, this has made the drug more available to kids and teenagers and has helped foster the idea that it is a harmless substance.
According to Hughes, “our research reveals an increased trend in teenage marijuana usage exposures, particularly those involving edible items.”
These results underline an ongoing worry about how quickly developing cannabis legalization would affect this vulnerable group.
The research shows that youngsters misuse over-the-counter medications at significant rates in addition to cannabis.
The most incidences of drug misuse between 2001 and 2016 included the over-the-counter cold and cough medication dextromethorphan.
In this investigation, oral antihistamines were among the medications that were abused the most often.
Drug-related deaths among young people were uncommon; they affected 450 (or 0.1% of cases).
Males and older adolescents (ages 16–18) died more often than females. Additionally, they were more likely to happen after opiate abuse.
And even though there were 57,488 incidences involving kids between the ages of 6 and 12, “conventional” drugs were not often involved in these situations; instead, vitamins, plants, melatonin, hand sanitizers, and other things were.
The research’s limitations were restricted to instances labeled as abuse or misuse.
The authors state that it’s conceivable that more instances of misuse or abuse were overlooked because they were categorized incorrectly.