A new study, Marijuana Exposure in Children Hospitalized for Bronchiolitis, found that one in six infants and toddlers admitted to a Colorado hospital with coughing, wheezing and other symptoms of bronchiolitis tested positive for marijuana exposure. There were comparisons made between before the legalization and after the legalization of marijuana.
A questionnaire given to parents asked whether anyone in the home smoked marijuana.
Of the children who were identified as having been exposed to marijuana smokers, urine samples showed traces of a metabolite of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive component of marijuana, in 16 percent of them.
”Our study demonstrates that, as with secondhand tobacco smoke, children can be exposed to the chemicals in marijuana when it is smoked by someone nearby," said lead researcher Karen M. Wilson, MD, MPH, FAAP, an associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and section head at Children's Hospital Colorado. "Especially as marijuana becomes more available and acceptable, we need to learn more about how this may affect children’s health and development." In the meantime, she said, "Marijuana should never be smoked in the presence of children.”