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Pediatr Emerg Care. 2019 Nov;35(11):799-804. doi: 10.1097/PEC.0000000000001970.

Acute Cannabis Toxicity.

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Fellow (Wong), Department of Pediatrics.
Professor (Baum), Departments of Pediatrics and Emergency Medicine, Section of Pediatric Emergency Medicine, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT.


The change in legal status of cannabis (the botanical species Cannabis sativa, commonly known as marijuana) in the United States has had significant impact on pediatric drug exposures. In states with decriminalization of recreational and medicinal use of cannabis, emergency department visits and poison control center calls for unintentional pediatric cannabis intoxication are on the rise in the last few decades. Exploratory or unintentional ingestions of cannabis-containing products (as opposed to those derived from synthetic cannabinoids, which may mimic the structure and/or function of cannabis, but are not the focus of this article) can lead to significant pediatric toxicity, including encephalopathy, coma, and respiratory depression. With the increasing magnitude of the public health implications of widespread cannabis use, clinicians who care for pediatric patients routinely must be adept in the recognition, evaluation, management, and counseling of unintentional cannabis exposure.

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