Severe outcomes following pediatric cannabis intoxication: a prospective cohort study of an international toxicology surveillance registry.

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INTRODUCTION: An increasing number of jurisdictions have legalized recreational cannabis for adult use. The subsequent availability and marketing of recreational cannabis has led to a parallel increase in rates and severity of pediatric cannabis intoxications. We explored predictors of severe outcomes in pediatric patients who presented to the emergency department with cannabis intoxication.

METHODS: In this prospective cohort study, we collected data on all pediatric patients (<18 >years) who presented with cannabis intoxication from August 2017 through June 2020 to participating sites in the Toxicology Investigators Consortium. In cases that involved polysubstance exposure, patients were included if cannabis was a significant contributing agent. The primary outcome was a composite severe outcome endpoint, defined as an intensive care unit admission or in-hospital death. Covariates included relevant sociodemographic and exposure characteristics.

RESULTS: One hundred and thirty-eight pediatric patients (54% males, median age 14.0 years, interquartile range 3.7-16.0) presented to a participating emergency department with cannabis intoxication. Fifty-two patients (38%) were admitted to an intensive care unit, including one patient who died. In the multivariable logistic regression analysis, polysubstance ingestion (adjusted odds ratio = 16.3; 95% confidence interval: 4.6-58.3;

CONCLUSIONS: Severe outcomes occurred for different reasons and were largely associated with the patient's age. Young children, all of whom were exposed to edibles, were at higher risk of severe outcomes. Teenagers with severe outcomes were frequently involved in polysubstance exposure, while psychosocial factors may have played a role.

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Medicine and Health Sciences




Department of Emergency Medicine, Toxicology Division

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