Marijuana-Related ER Visits Climb In Denver Hospital Study.

By Mick Mouse · Mar 26, 2019 · ·
  1. Mick Mouse

    Five years after Colorado first legalized marijuana, a new study shows pot's bad effects are sending more people to the emergency room.

    Inhaled marijuana caused the most severe problems at one large Denver area hospital. Marijuana-infused foods and candies, called edibles, also led to trouble. Patients came to the ER with symptoms such as repeated vomiting, racing hearts and psychotic episodes.

    The study, published Monday in Annals of Internal Medicine, stemmed from tales of tourists needing emergency care after gobbling too many marijuana gummies.

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

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

    Emergency room records from Monte's hospital show a three-fold increase in marijuana cases since the state became the first to allow sales of recreational marijuana in January 2014. Nearly a third of patients were admitted to the hospital, evidence of severe symptoms, Monte said.

    In 2012, the ER saw an average of one patient every other day with a marijuana-caused problem. By 2016, the count was two to three per day.That's not enough to swamp the emergency department, Monte said, but it stresses an already burdened system.

    Most people can use marijuana safely, Monte said, but with its increased availability and higher THC concentrations, "we may be seeing more adverse drug reactions," he said. THC is the part of marijuana that gets people high.

    A growing cannabis industry promotes the drug as a cure-all while downplaying dangers, said Dr. Erik Messamore, a psychiatrist at Northeast Ohio Medical University who wasn't involved in the research. More than 30 states now allow marijuana for at least medical use. New Jersey is debating becoming the 11th state to approve recreational pot. The U.S. government considers marijuana illegal.

    "You can't trust the people who sell the drugs to be upfront with the risk," Messamore said, calling for warning labels similar to those on tobacco products.

    The analysis confirmed edibles are trouble. Statewide, they made up less than 1 percent of total cannabis sales, measured by THC content. Yet 11 percent of ER visits were triggered by edibles.

    Monte said edibles are too dangerous to be part of the recreational marketplace. Slow to kick in, their effects last too long for a good party drug, he said. They work better for those who want to use them as medicine.

    Yet information on safe dosing is lacking, as Denver resident Arlene Galchinsky learned. She took a marijuana gummy for pain on top of a prescription narcotic, becoming so disoriented her husband called paramedics. Galchinsky, 79, didn't go to the ER, but the experience shook her up.

    "It was extremely scary," she said of the feeling. "When was this going to go away? It was so frightening."

    In the state-funded study , there were 2,567 emergency visits at the Denver hospital caused by marijuana from 2012-2016. It's not just tourists; 9 out of 10 cases were Colorado residents.

    Seventeen percent of the visits were for uncontrolled bouts of vomiting. It was most often from inhaled marijuana, not edibles.

    Twelve percent of the cases were for acute psychosis, where people without a history of mental disorders lose touch with reality. That was more frequently seen with edibles.

    Intoxication and heart problems were other common complaints.

    In an editorial, Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, called for more research on the benefits and harms of marijuana. She and co-author Ruben Baler wrote there is an "urgent need" for greater oversight of manufacturing and labeling as marijuana use increases with state legalization.

    Monte, an ER doctor who specializes in toxicology, doesn't use marijuana. "I'm too busy," he said. "I can't spend time being high."

    By Carla K. Johnson | Associated Press
    FOX News

    Original Source

    Written by: Carla K. Johnson, Mar 26, 2019,

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  1. TheBigBadWolf
    I thought so.

    Not that I am the allknowing BadWolf, but I thought so.

    Talking about modern Marijuana strains:

    -The levels of THC have grown from 10 to 30 percent, while CBD levels have not caught up (and I guess nobody cared because CBD doesn't get one high).
    And that's not including all the other active (not: psychoactive, terpenes et al.) substances in cannabis.

    For one:
    Edibles never were harmless.
    One day (around 1990) I made cookies from 'regular' (=oldskool-strains) hashish - and overdosed myself with only consuming one cooky containing not more than 1 gram to a point I needed my girlfriend's help to walk me home about 250 m in the time of 3/4 of an hour.

    We are receiving news over and over that especially edibles would not contain what the sign on the packet says.

    I guess leaving a strong drug without adequate control mechanisms is foolish.
    In my view there need to be studies on how the ratio of active substancesinfluences the effects of the drug have to be done.

    And - also my private view - why can't users make their edibles themselves, from a strain they know doesn't give them psychological or physiological un-wellbeing via cannabutter or similar?

    If edibles are a problem - give the responsibility for ingredients back to the user.
    If unbalanced strains are the problem - better control sytems have to be put in place.

    States seem to be happy to get tax revenue from cannabis sales - I think that therefore it is up to states to control the dope on ingredients in a way that leaves consuments on the safe side of consumption. (given they dont eat too many cookies).

    If one doesn't get high from balanced strains they are free to get other strains from the black market or grow them for themselves.

    I believe that recreational cannabis should remain free where it is already free. That doesnt mean growers should produce user-unfriendly product.

    Research has to be done.

    And I fuckin' hope that a person in charge for cannabis control reads about the idea of 'functioning substance ratios' and more (any) research will be done on this.

    Now that is where we have come to after 7-8 decades of a blanket ban.
    We have to do all the exploration from prohibition in less than no time today.

    I only hope that politicians understand it is not the fault of cannabis, but faults in breeding that came from too little knowledge.

    What I'd really would like to know - and which is not mentioned throughout the article - is how many of those who needed emergency treatment were consuming what kind of other substances (my main interest is alcohol) - because as a user of 35 years I yet have to experience things like projectile vomiting without already having been turned on (heavily) on alcohol.

    There seems much work has to be done in future.
  2. jazzyj9
    I've had lots of patients come to the ER for marijuana intoxication. We offered monitoring and sometimes IV hydration if vomiting happened. I have never seen any damage from marijuana though. There was an old lady who accidentally ate one of her nephew's edibles in the fridge, we thought she had a stroke initially but did a drug screen thankfully and it was positive for marijuana. She was completely back to baseline in 4 hours. I think the high THC content might be the reason for the increase in panic and paranoia and other significant mental side effects. People are eating very strong edibles, not respecting the substance and being careful. Whenever someone comes in for weed intoxication, admittedly, we laugh a little bit knowing that the side effects will go away and it's kinda a waste of time and resources in most situations.
  3. TheBigBadWolf
    I can imagine knowing hospital humour.
    Sadly this looks completely different from the inside when you are not aware what is happening. While monitoring and pampering the patient a bit should help in most cases I can imagine people having full blown panic attacks (and with disposition even worse) feel a seriousness that is not factually justified.
    anyhow, the recreational effect is not what one would have waited for in these cases. i really believe that these things give cannabis a worse name than necessary.
    In my view nobody needs to buy edibles. making them at home helps
      jazzyj9 likes this.
  4. jazzyj9
    I agree with you about edibles. Years ago when I was still able to use cannabis myself, I ate a bad one and had a panic attack myself. Luckily I have a strong mental constitution and my sister was able to comfort me and I was able to avoid the hospital. But if the symptoms would have continued, I was tempted to go in. I had had a lot of experience with cannabis myself prior to this, including eating edibles, but the one I got was way too strong on that one occasion. I really do love this herb and wish I could use it again at some point in the future, maybe if it's taken off the Federal schedule in the US.
    1. kumar420
      I figured it had to be the edibles. Smoking really potent herb can give even the heaviest of smokers some interesting side effects, but usually nothing worse than a panic attack and a fuzzy head for the next couple of days.
      They really need to figure out how to limit the maximum amount of THC in edibles. I remember a few years ago California had those 'Starz of Death' which could have anywhere up to 1000mg per edible. That's an absurd amount of THC, nobody needs that much, especially in a deceptively tiny gummy candy.
      God forbid somebody with low or no tolerance eats a particularly potent edible, that's when people start freaking out and potentially hurting themselves.

      Who would have thought smoking would be the safer option?
      jazzyj9 likes this.
  5. chibi curmudgeon
    The dose makes the poison. Always. *sips tea made with unfluoridated water because people in my city are that scientifically illiterate*
    1. TheBigBadWolf
      Sadly democracy does not ask for scientifically literacy. People don't even care for being literate on any other sectors. Reproduction needs no driver license and sadly illiteracy doesn't equate to inability to mate with results.
      Don't get me wrong, even the dumbest person has a right to fuck and be fucked, I just don't think that people with an IQ similar to their shoesize should be allowed to ruin the overall population intelligence by producing more morons of their own genes.
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