Calls to the BC Drug and Poison Information Centre on the cusp of cannabis legalization
The BCCDC/NCCEH Environmental Health Seminar Series provides an opportunity for learning and knowledge exchange on a variety of environmental health topics. The seminars can be attended in-person or online.
Presenter: Tissa Rahim, Project Coordinator, BC Centre for Disease Control
Under legalization of cannabis in the United States poison centres reported an increase in calls about cannabis exposures compared to those in states where cannabis remained illegal during both the lead up to and just after legalization/decriminalization. In 2018 the BC Drug and Poison Information Centre (DPIC) received 644 calls as compared to 241 calls received in 2013. Many adverse effects reported were from people exposed to products that are not yet regulated, including those that were purchased from unlicensed stores/online, or from taking cannabis in combination with other substances. DPIC also received calls about children accidentally exposed to edibles, particularly candies, and elderly using cannabis to self-medicate. Our results stressed the importance of standardized dosing of new products, public education on how to consume new products, how to keep cannabis products safely stored away from children, and how to make them less appealing and palatable to children.