Liberalization of cannabis in 2009 and allowing for its recreational sale in 2014 has hiked the visits to the emergency department as per a new study conducted in this context. New research has pointed out that the increase in visits is more due to ingestion of edible marijuana products rather than inhaled cannabis.
The period 2012 to 2016 witnessed a hike in cannabis linked visits to the emergency department at UC Health University of Colorado Hospital by more than three times. Concerns of safety with regard to cannabis ingestion prompted researchers to delve deeper into the visits.
The study analyzed the link between the visits to the emergency department and reported cannabis sales. Edible cannabis contributed towards 0.32% of sales for the period 2014 to 2016 but percentage of edible-cannabis linked visits to the emergency department at UC Health University of Colorado stood at 10.7%. The study was printed in Annals of Internal Medicine on Monday.
Cannabis in the edible form takes a longer time to be absorbed and also greater times for the tetrahydrocannabinol or THC to be thrown off by the body. THC is the leading ingredient that causes psychosomatic symptoms. As the effect is not immediately visible, the ingestion of the edibles is in larger quantities thus becoming dangerous to health subsequently.
Permitting the recreational sale of cannabis in 2014 has hiked the risks to users though the liberalization of law was made with a view to alleviate pain for some individuals. Lead study author, Dr. Andrew A. Monte, suggested excluding edibles from the recreational sale. Limiting THC quantities in cannabis products and restricting their mass marketing has to be complemented by investing in increasing public awareness about the potential health hazard posed by cannabis. This can contribute in a greater way towards reducing cannabis linked visits to the emergency department. Prevention is any day a better solution than treating for the symptoms of drug abuse.