A new study, published in the journal Pediatric Research, has found that children whose parents regularly smoke marijuana may experience viral respiratory infections, such as the common cold, according to Science Daily.
The study, conducted by the researchers of Wake Forest School of Medicine and Children’s Hospital Colorado, looked at nearly 1,500 parents and caregivers who lived in Colorado, the state where recreational and medicinal use of marijuana is legal.
The authors found that parents who regularly smoked or vaped marijuana reported that their children experienced viral respiratory infections than children whose parents did not smoke tobacco or marijuana.
However, parents who smoked or vaped marijuana reported that their children did not experience other conditions related to second-hand tobacco or marijuana smoke, such as asthma attacks or ear infections.
The corresponding author of the study Dr. Adam Johnson said, “The negative impact that exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke can have on children’s health has been extensively studied but the impact of second-hand marijuana smoke on young children is unclear.”
“Our findings identify the potential for increased respiratory infections in children exposed to second-hand marijuana smoke,” he added. “This could have significant healthcare implications as more states in the USA move towards legalizing recreational marijuana use.”
Of all the participants surveyed, 5.2% reported regularly smoking or vaping only marijuana, 14.3% reported regularly smoking only tobacco, and 5.4% reported regularly smoking both marijuana and tobacco.
Dr. Johnson explained, “Our findings highlight the prevalence of marijuana use among parents and caregivers and indicate which children may be more likely to be exposed to second-hand marijuana smoke in a US state where recreational and medicinal marijuana use is legal.”
“These findings could be used to help target and shape public health messaging aimed at parents and caregivers in order to raise awareness of the potential negative impacts that second-hand marijuana smoke exposure can have on children’s health,” he added.
However, the researcher cautioned that this was an observational study so it does not conclude a causal relationship between second-hand marijuana smoke exposure and the frequency of viral respiratory infections, per Science Daily.
In addition, the findings may not be generalized to all children in regions where marijuana is legal because the researchers surveyed only a small number of parents and caregivers in one state.
The authors said future research could help in assessing the impact that parents and caregivers’ use of other types of marijuana products may have on children. The article appeared in Science Daily.