WEDNESDAY, Nov. 27, 2019 (HealthDay News) — From 2000 to 2017, the overall rate of exposure to psychoactive substances of natural origin increased, according to a study published online Nov. 25 in Clinical Toxicology.

Connor O’Neill-Dee, from The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, and colleagues retrospectively analyzed data from the National Poison Data System to examine exposures to psychoactive substances of natural origin.

The researchers identified 67,369 calls to poison control centers in the United States regarding exposures to natural psychoactive substances from Jan. 1, 2000, through Dec. 31, 2017, equaling an average of 3,743 exposures annually. The most exposures were seen among individuals >19 years and those aged 13 to 19 years (41.4 and 34.8 percent, respectively), with the highest annual rate of 79.4 per million population seen among 13- to 19-year-olds. Marijuana, anticholinergic plants, and hallucinogenic mushrooms were the most commonly involved substances (46.9, 21.1, and 15.6 percent, respectively). Substances with the highest percentages of hospital admission and serious medical outcomes were kratom, khat, anticholinergic plants, and hallucinogenic mushrooms. From 2000 to 2017, there was a significant increase in the overall rate of exposure to natural psychoactive substances per million population, from 17.6 to 30.7, driven by a 150.0 percent increase in marijuana exposure from 9.9 to 24.7.

“While rates of exposure to most natural psychoactive substances decreased during the study period, rates for marijuana, nutmeg, and kratom increased significantly,” the authors write.

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