A recent study has found that marijuana legalization in Colorado has led to a three-fold increase in hospital emergency room visits. Furthermore, it was deduced that people who used edibles like pot brownies were 33 times more likely to end up in an emergency room, as compared to those who preferred other methods like smoking.
Researchers looked at the cases of around 10,000 patients who had an emergency room visit between 2012 and 2016 and compared changes with cases reported after January 2014, when adult-use cannabis was legalized in Colorado.
Although there was an increase in the number of cases from 2012-2013, the figures saw a sharp rise after the legalization of both ingested and inhaled cannabis.
Though edibles were responsible for just 0.32% of cannabis products sold, they accounted for more than 1 in 10 hospital visits for mental health episodes and heart problems.
“The larger proportion of acute psychiatric visits associated with edible exposure is troubling given the capacity of THC to cause or make psychosis worse, and the risk for violent behaviors linked to cannabis-associated psychosis,” the authors of the study published in the journal- Annals of Internal Medicine
Many drug-policy experts have considered this study significant as the above-mentioned findings will help lawmakers in other non-legal states to be extra vigilant while passing (or approving) edible cannabis bill/products.
The authors of the study think that there is a dire need of educating people regarding the effects of cannabinoids like THC and CBD. This is particularly true for edibles where the delayed and longer lasting effects of the drug increase the likelihood of inadvertently taking a larger dose.
Notably, a number of emergency room visits owing to edible cannabis involved tourists. This implies that people coming from countries, where cannabis is illegal are more vulnerable to fall victim to edible cannabis products as compared to the locals, who are in some way accustomed to it. Therefore, lawmakers can make some changes to the existing tourist policies and help ensure the well-being of all.