A concerning trend: More calls are coming into the Washington Poison Center about marijuana. But are more people being exposed or are people just more willing to call?
The Washington Poison Center reports more marijuana exposures during the first three months of 2015 than it did in the same period last year.
Through March this year, 72 exposures were reported to the Poison Center compared with 54 during the same period in 2014. Last year, a total of 245 exposures were recorded. Exposures reported include calls from the public as well as healthcare professionals.
Since marijuana was legalized, the number of exposures has grown, according to the center’s data.
“When stores opened mid-summer last year, the calls started increasing,” said Dr. Alexander Garrard, the center’s director. He said the data includes people calling about both recreational and medical marijuana.
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Garrard said the data could indicate more people are being exposed to marijuana or that people are more willing to call if they run into trouble with marijuana.
“It may not necessarily indicate more people are getting exposed or poisoned,” said Garrard. “Often when it comes to public health or outreach, people are aware of more services available.”
Garrard said millennials are the most likely age group to call the center. He said about 60 percent of the calls this year regarding marijuana involved edibles.
Of the 79 cases reported so far this year (including April data), Garrard said, 43 were cases in which people used marijuana intentionally. Twenty-two cases were unintentional or accidental exposures to marijuana.
Other cases involving marijuana were classified as adverse drug reactions, contamination or tampering and unknown.