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Marijuana-related ER visits climb in the Colorado hospital



CBS NEWS / AP Five years after the first legalization of marijuana by Colorado, a new study shows that the bad effects of pots cause more people to be sent to the emergency room.

Inhaled marijuana caused the biggest problems in a large hospital in the Denver area. Marijuana-infused food and sweets, called food, also caused problems. Patients went to the emergency department with symptoms such as repeated vomiting, racing hearts and psychotic episodes.

The study published in Annals of Internal Medicine on Monday came from stories of tourists in need of emergency care after consuming too many marijuana gums.

"It was hard to know if these were just anecdotes or if there was a true phenomenon," said lead author Andrew Monte of UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital.

Three Colorado deaths associated with edible products also led to the study.

The emergency room records from Monte's hospital show a threefold increase in marijuana cases since the state made the first sale of recreational marijuana in January 201

4 possible. Almost a third of patients were hospitalized, showing signs of severe symptoms, Monte said.

In 2012, the emergency department saw on average one patient with a problem caused by marijuana every other day. By 2016, it was two to three a day. This is not enough to flood the emergency room, said Monte, but stresses an already loaded system.

Most people can safely use marijuana, Monte said, but with its increased availability and higher THC concentrations, "we may see more disadvantage." Drug reactions, "he said.

THC is the part of marijuana that drives people up.

A growing cannabis industry is promoting the drug as a panacea while downplaying dangers, said Erik Messamore, a psychiatrist Northeast Ohio Medical University, which has not been involved in research, has now approved marijuana at least for medical purposes in more than 30 states New Jersey is the 11th state to offer recreational potential The US government considers marijuana illegal. [19659004] "One can not trust the people who sell the drugs to take the risk," said Messamore, calling for warning signs similar to those on tobacco products.

The analysis confirms edible is trouble THC content was less than 1 percent of total cannabis sales, but 11 percent of ER visits were caused by food.

Monte s argued that food was too dangerous to participate in the leisure market. Slow to get in, their effects take too long for a good party drug, he said. They work better for those who want to use them as medicine.

However, information on safe dosing is missing, as the Denver-based Arlene Galchinsky learned. She took a marijuana gum for pain next to a prescription narcotic and became so disoriented that her husband was called a paramedic. Galchinsky, 79, did not go to the emergency room, but the experience confused her.

"It was extremely scary," she said of the feeling. "When was that supposed to go away? It was so scary."

In the government-funded study, 2,567 emergency visits to hospital in Denver from 2012 to 2016 were caused by marijuana. Nine out of ten cases were based in Colorado. Seventeen percent of the visits were due to uncontrolled vomiting. It was mostly from inhaled marijuana, not from food.

Twelve percent of cases involved acute psychosis, in which people without mental disorders lose contact with reality in the past. This was more common with food.

Findings follow a study published last week which found that people who smoked strong marijuana daily were diagnosed with psychosis three times more often than people who never consumed the drug. Intoxications and heart problems were other common complaints in the hospital study in Colorado.



In an editorial, Nora Volkov, director of the National Institute for Drug Abuse, called for further research into the benefits and harms of marijuana. She and co-author Ruben Baler said the findings underscore the need to educate physicians about the importance of cannabis screenings and possible health effects. They also wrote that there is an "urgent need" for greater control of manufacturing and labeling as marijuana use increases with state legalization.


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