Tag Archives: Arizona

Mass Illnesses Due to Marijuana Edibles, Brownies, Candy

Mass Illness from Marijuana Edibles in San Francisco

There’s more potential for overdose from edibles than smoked marijuana, although the teen in Seattle who jumped to his death last December did it after smoking pot for the first time.  Two shocking incidents in California suggest that overdose emergencies will increase if that states vote to legalize marijuana in November.  Here’s a summary of recent cases of toxicity from edibles:

    • 19 people were hospitalized in San Francisco on August 7 from THC, after attending a quinceañera party.  The source is believed be marijuana-infused candies, perhaps gummy bears. Several children were among those poisoned, one as young as six.  A 9-year-old had severe difficulty breathing.
    • A JAMA Pediatrics article explains the dramatic rise in children’s hospitalizations related to marijuana in Colorado since legalization.  In 10 cases, the product was not in a child-resistant container; in 40 scenarios (34%) there was poor child supervision or product storage.  Edible products were responsible for 51 (52% ) of exposures.  The report claimed that child-resistant packaging has not been as effective in reducing kids’ unintended exposure to pot as hoped.
    • The report mentions the death of one child, an 11-month-old baby.  Nine of the children had symptoms so serious that they ended up in the intensive care unit of Colorado Children’s  Hospital.  Two children needed breathing tubes.

      HamzaWarsame
      Hamza Warsame, 16,  jumped 6 stories after smoking pot in Seattle in December. Photo: Seattle Times, from the Warsame Family
    • The state of Washington has a similar problem with edibles, as reported on the King County Health Department’s website.  From 2013 to May 2015, there were 46 cases of children’s intoxications related to marijuana edibles reported in Washington.  However, reporting is voluntary and the state estimates that  number could be much higher.
    •  In May, a father plead guilty to deliberately giving his 4-year-old daughter marijuana-laced cake in Vancouver, Washington.  He was sentenced to two years in prison.

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      Intoxication from marijuana edibles has risen steadily since legalization. Source: King County Department of Health. Top photo: AP
    • In Hingham, MA, there was a 911  related to teen girl who ingested marijuana edibles.  The candies were in a package labelled Conscious Creations, which didn’t disclose ingredients.   Massachusetts has a medical marijuana program, but it is not clear how or to whom they were sold or dispensed.
    • July, 2016: A California man was arrested for giving candy laced with marijuana to a 6-year-old boy and an 8-year-old boy; the 6-year-old was hospitalized for marijuana poisoning.
    • July, 2016: Police in Arizona arrested a mother for allegedly giving her 11- and 12-year-old children gummy candy infused with marijuana. Police say the marijuana-infused candy was originally purchased by an Arizona medical marijuana user, but was illegally transferred to the mother in question.  (State medical marijuana programs have poor track records of assuring the “medicine” goes to whom it is intended.)
    • On April 27, a Georgia woman was arrested after a 5- year-old said he ate a marijuana cake for breakfast.  The child was taken to the hospital for treatment following the incident; according to officials, his pulse was measured at over 200 beats per minute.

Edible marijuana poses a “unique problem,” because “no other drug is infused into a palatable and appetizing form” – such as cookies, brownies and candy.    Many household items cause poisonings, but marijuana edibles are different because they’re made to look appealing and they appeal to children.

Tragic Accidents Related to Marijuana Involve Children

15-year-old driver high on pot paralyzes boy, rips truck into 3 parts near Seattle

When states legalize marijuana for adults, children are in danger, too.  Here’s recent traffic accidents involving marijuana. Eight are dead, three of them children.

  1.  A 7-year-old boy is paralyzed, because a girl driving under the influence of marijuana smashed into his dad’s pickup truck near Seattle on May 24, 2016.  The unlicensed, 15-year-old driver was in a BMW, with a 24-year-old man and a 5-year-old child.  The man driving the truck sustained critical injuries, with his truck  torn into three parts.  (photo above: Kent fire department)
  2. An  8-year old girl, Peyton Knowlton, who was hit and killed while riding her bicycle in Longmont, Colorado, on May 20.  Newspaper articles on July 27 report that the police investigation confirms that the 20-year-old driver high had been high on marijuana at the time.  He was below the legal age for purchasing marijuana.  (A video on below shows the scene of the accident.)

    peyton.knowlton.gofundme
    Peyton Knowlton from a gofundme page, as shared in an article on Westword.com
  3. In Boulder, Colorado on May 7, a 17-year-old was driving home from smoking pot with friends when he plowed through a stoplight while stoned and killed two young adults.   It means that at least two deadly accidents in Boulder County involved marijuana during the month of May.
  4. July, 2016: A Wisconsin teen admitted to using marijuana shortly before his vehicle missed a stop sign and collided with an SUV. The driver was a 17-year old.  His 16-year-old passenger died, as did an adult in another vehicle. The driver was in intensive care.
  5. June, 2016: Authorities in Arizona believe the woman who caused a deadly crash was driving under the influence of marijuana. Court documents reveal the woman was driving at least 75 mph in a 40 mph zone when she crossed the center line, plowing into an oncoming vehicle and killing a man and his daughter.   A 2-year-old and 4-year-old were injured.
  6. In Virginia, a 27-year-old father drove under the influence of marijuana with three children in the car.  He  collided with an oncoming train and the youngest, a 3-year-old girl, died on March 25, 2015.  Last month he was sentenced to three years in prison.

We wrote about bicyclists’ deaths recently.   In Boulder County, three died in two accidents in May.  Here’s a video from the report after Peyton Knowlton’s death, which occurred in Longmont:

legalization

Arizona Pot Groups Uses Mother’s Day to Advertise Legalization Ballot

When pro legalization efforts rears its ugly head on Mother’s Day…

When managers of the Colorado and Washington pro-marijuana legalization campaigns were asked how they won in 2012, they said that focusing on women, specifically the moms, was key to their success.

The campaigns set out to convince parents that legalization would have four benefits: “Fewer profits for cartels, increased funding for schools, more time for police to focus on violent crime, and their children would not be affected.”  The opposite has turned out be true in all regards, and crime has increased.

In advance of Mother’s Day 2012, the Colorado Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Campaign ran TV advertisements in Denver of young woman emailing her mother saying that she was going to try marijuana instead of alcohol, because she thinks it’s safer.

Following that lead of exploiting Mother’s Day, the pro-legalization coalition in Arizona put up billboards in Phoenix and Tucson on Monday. The billboards feature a young woman and her mother, with the question: “Have you talked to your parents about marijuana?”  It’s also an obvious way to interest young potential customers, and attract young voters.

The Campaign to Regular Marijuana Like Alcohol called the billboard campaign a “playful angle on the conversations parents were urged for decades to have with their children about the dangers of marijuana and other drugs.legalization

A press release from the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol said: “For decades, the federal government distributed anti-marijuana propaganda to parents and encouraged them to share it with their children.

“The goal of the ads is to flip the script on marijuana education and encourage younger voters to start conversations about marijuana with their family members, especially older generations who have been led to believe marijuana is more harmful than it actually is.”  (Safer than alcohol” is a frequent but deceptive rallying cry of the marijuana lobby.)  Here’s more information on the ballot in Arizona, which is losing according to polls.

ARDP Opposition Responds to the Billboards

Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy denounced the billboards, claiming they mock serious conversations about drugs between parents and kids. “There is nothing ‘playful’ about the serious conversations parents have with their children about the dangers of substance abuse,” said Seth Leibsohn, chair of Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy. “It is wholly irresponsible to mock substance abuse — and the hard work done by community preventionists and parents to keep their children safe — as a joke.”

Leibsohn called for the ads to be taken down immediately, noting that in nearby Colorado:

The billboards were paid for by the the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, sponsored by the Marijuana Policy Project, Yes on I-08-2016, with major funding from Marijuana Policy Project,  MPP Foundation, an out-of-state contributor,  Arizonans for Responsible Legalization and Monarch.

Marijuana and Breastfeeding

Pro-pot advocates tell us their cannabinoids in breast milk which is true, but that’s not a reason to smoke pot while pregnant. In fact, Arizona just passed a law requiring all medical marijuana dispensaries to warn pregnant and breastfeeding women against using marijuana. Pamela McColl wrote an article on pregnancy and marijuana.

A blog from October, 2012 that discusses the subject. The author lives in the region which produces the most marijuana in the US.  We’re reprinting this from the Mama Birth website, with permission:

Can you smoke marijuana while breastfeeding?  Well- of course you can.

Should you smoke marijuana while breastfeeding?  That is a very different question and one which is hotly debated.  I am familiar with the raging feelings concerning smoking marijuana while pregnant and this subject also brings out strong emotions.

For some people smoking marijuana ever is a no brainer- why would you do that?  It’s illegal anyway.  For others, smoking weed is a part of their lifestyle and is considered a medicinal herb rather than a drug.  No matter how you view marijuana and no matter it’s place in your lifestyle, it is worth carefully considering if it’s use should continue during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

The research on this subject is not vast.  A true scientific study would require two large groups of breastfeeding mothers, half randomly assigned to smoking marijuana while breastfeeding, and half assigned to not smoke while breastfeeding.  Of course, as drugs.com states, this type of study is considered unethical:

“Data are from random breastmilk screening rather than controlled studies because of ethical considerations in administering marijuana to nursing mothers”

So, to research this subject we must look at smaller studies and glean what we can from them and make the best choice.  What does the limited research show?  The following quotes are taken from an article in the Journal of Toxicology, April 2009.  Please take the time to read the study and the resources it quotes if you are seriously interested in this subject.

Decreased motor development-

” The active substance of cannabis is the delta 9 TetraHydroCannabinol (THC). Some studies conclude that it could decrease motor development of the child at one year of age.”

THC is stored in the infant’s fat tissues for long periods of time-

“Its half-life is 1 to 2.3 days, and traces can persist for up to 4 to 6 weeks. It is rapidly distributed to the brain and adipose tissue. It is stored in fat tissues for long periods (weeks to months) [7].”

While studies are limited we do know some of the effects of some of the components of marijuana and it is known that marijuana can cause oral motor weakness which can cause problems with milk production.  A baby that doesn’t suck well will fail to cause the mother’s adequate milk production.-

“Indeed, during foetal life, the cannabinoid CB1 receptor acts on brain development, regulating neural progenitor differentiation into neurones and glia (as CB2 receptor) and guiding axonal migration and synaptogenesis. Postnatally, CB1 receptor blockade induces oral motor weakness, which reveals a critical role for CB1 receptors in the initiation of milk suckling by neonates [8]”

It is also known that marijuana may impact brain development-

“Cannabinoids are also involved in the expression of key genes for neural development [11].”

Smoking weed is known to cause poor feeding patterns in humans.

“Cannabis causes sedation, weakness, and poor feeding patterns in adult [7]”

THC is known to pass through breast milk-

“THC is excreted into human breast milk in moderate amounts [19]. In one feeding, the infant would ingest 0.8% of the weight-adjusted maternal intake of one joint [20]. The ratio milk-to-plasma rates 8 in heavy users [19].”

Animal studies again indicate that milk production can be negatively impacted by marijuana use and Dr Hale agrees.

” Indeed, studies in animals suggest that marijuana could inhibit lactation by inhibiting prolactin production and, possibly, by a direct action on the mammary glands [7]. Hale reports a positive evidence of risk on milk production. Nevertheless, there are no human data to corroborate these observations.”

Marijuana use by a breastfeeding mother is known to cause lethargy in the infant among other things.

“According to Hale, marijuana could produce sedation and growth delay in infant [7], and a study by Liston have demonstrated that infants exposed to marijuana via breast milk show signs of sedation, reduced muscular tonus, and poor sucking [21].”

While it is unethical to conduct studies on humans, we do known that the compounds present in marijuana can alter DNA and brain growth.

” Animal studies have demonstrated alteration of DNA and RNA synthesis, and proteins needed for proper growth and development impaired in brain cells of newborn animals [21].”

While we don’t know a lot about how smoking marijuana while breastfeeding impacts the baby, the fact that no long term studies have been done does not mean there are no long term effects.

A study has also indicated that marijuana use can raise the chance of SIDS or sudden infant death syndrome.

” But paternal marijuana use during the periods of conception, pregnancy, and postnatally was significantly associated with SIDS [26].”

In addition to the known passage of marijuana through breast milk and it’s known storage in fatty tissues, it is mentioned that the mind altering effects of smoking marijuana are not recommended for anybody who is a primary care provider for an infant.

“Marijuana should not be used by nursing mothers because it may impair their judgment and child care abilities. Marijuana should not be smoked by anyone in the vicinity of infants because the infants may be exposed by inhaling the smoke. Some evidence indicates that paternal marijuana use increases the risk of sudden infant death syndrome in breastfed infants.”

So, in summary-

The use of marijuana during breastfeeding is not recommended for many reasons.  It is known to pass through the breast milk.  It is known to be stored in fatty tissue for a long period of time.  It is known to impact DNA and RNA.  Babies whose mother’s smoked weed tended to be more lethargic and this could impact milk supply and the ability to actively suck and extract milk.  Smoking marijuana while breastfeeding is even thought to increase SIDS rates.

I live in an area where the use of marijuana is widespread, common, and legally accepted.  I realize that many people believe that this substance has healing properties and has only been criminalized by those who are out for money or otherwise inclined to oppress farmers and hippies.

I realize that research on this subject is spotty at best and has small sample sizes and insufficient data.  I strongly believe that just because something has not been proven dangerous does not mean it has been proven SAFE.

I strongly believe that it is our responsibility as a mothers and care providers to do what is best for our children.  I also believe that we can sacrifice some of our old habits and lifestyles for our children.  In fact I know that every good mother does this for her children.  There are simply some things in our lives that need to be changed in order to be the best mother we can be to our babies.

For some of this it is patterns in our life, work, relationships, even hobbies.  For most of us it means less sleep for a certain length of time, giving up our bodies briefly and some of our freedoms.  For some of us it even means sacrificing some lifestyle choices and even drug (or medicinal herbal) use.

I can guarantee  you that the sacrifices we make for our children will be well worth it and will not be regretted.  I know that what can seem like a long and hard sacrifice for our children will look so short in a few years when we look back.

Life changes when we have babies and it changes forever.  That is OK.  In fact, it is a beautiful part of motherhood.

Let go of some of the sleep.  Find different ways to deal with stress.  (Nature has designed breastfeeding perfectly so that the very act of nursing relaxes both mother and baby and produces love hormones.)

Enjoy some of the natural drugs that your own body creates during the amazing journey of breastfeeding and set aside some of the others that we have to ingest.  It will be such a short time in the long run and it will be so worth it- even to avoid a hypothetical risk.

For more information, consult this study.