Cureus. 2022 Mar 25;14(3):e23493. doi: 10.7759/cureus.23493. eCollection 2022 Mar.
BACKGROUND: Cannabis (marijuana) is one of the most abused drugs worldwide. The increasing availability of cannabis has been associated with increased emergency department (ED) visits. There is a wide range of presentations documented in the recent literature, and the full scope of symptoms in young children is not fully known.
OBJECTIVE: The primary objectives were to gather information regarding the characteristics in the presentation of the children with positive cannabinoid urine drug screen (UDS) results in the ED and to determine if there are certain common presentations with cannabinoid ingestion or inhalation.
DESIGN/METHODS: This study was a descriptive retrospective chart review from March 2013 to June 2020 of pediatric patients <18 years old with positive UDS for cannabinoids. Data collected included age, gender, chief complaint, history, review of systems, vital signs, physical exam findings, laboratory studies, imaging findings, and disposition. Four hundred and twenty-two charts were included in the study. Analysis was done using Stata 13 (College Station, TX).
RESULTS: The data showed that there was a significant increase in the number of pediatric patients with a positive UDS after cannabis legalization. Using cases from November 2013 to November 2019 showed 71% of cases presented after legalization on November 8, 2016 (Z=7.72, p<.01). The majority of cases were patients between the ages of 15 and 17 (78%). 43% (n=182) of patients presented with chief complaints of suicidal ideation. The other most common chief complaints were vomiting (8%, n=33), nausea (5%, n=22), trauma (5%, n=21), and altered mental status (AMS) (5%, n=20). The most common vital sign abnormalities included tachycardia (27%, n=115) and hypertension (18%, n=74). Forty-two percent of patients had tests ordered during their visit with 7% undergoing head computerized tomography. On the UDS, 28% of patients were positive for at least one other drug with amphetamine being the most common (13%, n=55).
CONCLUSION: Our data showed a significant increase in the number of cases since the legalization of cannabis in 2016, supporting the need for ED physicians to become more familiar with cannabis intoxication and its complications. The presentations of these patients can vary greatly. Common presentations include suicidal ideation, nausea/vomiting, AMS, and trauma with vital sign abnormalities including tachycardia and hypertension. Physicians should continue to consider cannabis use when evaluating these pediatric complaints. It may decrease the number of tests ordered in this patient population.
Source: ncbi 2