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Disturbing trend, more older Americans showing up in emergency room with cannabis poisoning

Emergency room visits up for Americans 65 and older with cannabis poisoning
Emergency room visits up for Americans 65 and older with cannabis poisoning 02:12

From pain relief to being a sleep aid, CBD gummies and edible cannabis have been seen as the go-to remedy for many older Americans.

"They're looking at it as you know, a vitamin so to speak, and it's not, and actually you don't know what's in it. So, talk about you know flying blind, you're really flying blind," said Dr. Barbara Krantz, medical director of the older adults program at Caron, an addiction treatment and rehabilitation center in Delray Beach.

New research shows a disturbing trend involving these sweet treats and older adults.

According to a study by JAMA Internal Medicine, emergency rooms in Ontario, Canada, saw a steady rise in emergency room visits among those 65 and older with cannabis poisoning. A similar study out of California found that emergency room visits have increased by over 1,800 percent in the last 15 years.

Experts say people often assume CBD is completely safe because it's over the counter, but that's not entirely true.

"The supplement CBD is not FDA controlled, so there's no dosage that's accurate. The purity doesn't have to be there. You know, you really don't know what you're taking, so I wouldn't do that," said Krantz.

She added that prescription medication can play a huge factor because some drugs don't blend well together.

"A lot of people are on blood thinners, high blood pressure medicine, diabetes, antipsychotics, anti-seizure medicine, it will affect those medications and there can be dire consequences to that," said Krantz.

Cannabis poisoning is known to cause symptoms of dizziness, nausea, confusion, anxiety, and even chest pain.

The bottom line with the dangers between an older adult and CBD is that they should first speak to a physician or at least a pharmacist before they buy it. And don't just buy it in the drugstore or the coffee shop or wherever. I mean, have some thought because they need to know if there are drug-drug interactions," said Krantz. 

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