Marijuana-related emergency visits are increasing at Colorado's hospital


CBS NEWS / AP Five years after the legalization of marijuana in Colorado, a new study shows that the harmful effects of marijuana send more and more people to emergencies.

Inhaled marijuana caused the most serious problems at a large hospital in the Denver area. Foods and marijuana sweets, called foods, have also created problems. Patients went to emergency with symptoms such as repeated vomiting, fast heartbeat and psychotic episodes.

The study, published Monday in Annals of Internal Medicine, is based on stories of tourists in need of emergency care after swallowing too much marijuana gelatin.

"It was difficult to know whether it was just anecdotes or whether it was a real phenomenon," said the main perpetrator. , Andrew Monte, UCHealth Hospital of the University of Colorado.

Three deaths in Colorado related to edible products also prompted the study.

Emergency room records from the Monte Hospital show a three-fold increase in the number of marijuana cases since the state became the first to authorize the sale of marijuana for recreational purposes. January 2014. Nearly one-third of patients were admitted to the hospital, showing severe symptoms, Monte said.

In 2012, the emergency department saw an average patient every two days suffering from a problem related to marijuana. In 2016, the number was two to three per day. This is not enough to overwhelm the emergency department, Monte said, but this puts the emphasis on an already overburdened system.

Most people can safely use marijuana, Monte Monte said, but with its increased availability and higher THC levels, "we may be seeing more adverse drug reactions," he says. declared.

THC is the part of marijuana that elevates people up.

Erik Messamore, a psychiatrist at Northeast Ohio Medical University, did not participate in the research. More than 30 states now allow marijuana for medical purposes at least. New Jersey plans to become the 11th state to approve the recreational pot. The US government believes that marijuana is illegal.

"You can not trust drug sellers to take the risk," said Messamore, calling for warning labels similar to those on tobacco products.

The analysis confirms that foods are a problem. At the state level, they accounted for less than 1% of total cannabis sales, as measured by THC content. Yet 11% of emergency visits were triggered by edible products.

Monte says that food products are too dangerous to be part of the leisure market. Slow to enter, their effects last too long for a good party drug, he said. They work best for those who want to use them as drugs.

Yet, as Denver resident Arlene Galchinsky learned, safe dosage information is lacking. She took a marijuana candy for pain on a prescription narcotic, becoming so disoriented that her husband was called paramedic. Galchinsky, 79, did not go to the emergency room, but the experience has upset her.

"It was extremely scary," she says about this feeling. "When was it going to leave? It was so scary."

In the state-funded study, 2,567 emergency visits to the Denver Hospital were caused by marijuana from 2012 to 2016. Nine out of 10 cases were residents of Colorado . Seventeen percent of the visits were for uncontrolled vomiting. It was most often inhaled marijuana and not food products.

Twelve percent of the cases involved acute psychosis, in which people without a history of mental disorder lose touch with reality. This has been more often seen with edibles.

The findings of this study follow a study published last week that people who smoked strong marijuana on a daily basis were three times more likely to suffer from psychosis than those who had never used it. Inxication and heart problems were other common problems in the study conducted by the Colorado Hospital.

In an editorial, Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute Against Drug Abuse, called for more research on the pros and cons of marijuana. She and her co-author, Ruben Baler, said the findings underscore the need to educate physicians about the importance of screening for cannabis use and the potential health effects. They also wrote that it was "urgent" to strengthen monitoring of manufacturing and labeling, as marijuana use increases with legalization by the state.

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