Colorado Report Finds Increase in Hospital Visits from Marijuana Exposure

The Department of Public Health’s report analyzed the effects of marijuana legalization in the state.

Colorado hospitals have seen an increase in the number of patients treated after marijuana exposure since the drug’s legalization.

A report released April 18 by the Colorado Department of Public Health found hospitalizations involving patients with possible marijuana exposure went from roughly 803 per 100,000 patients between 2001 and 2009 to 2,413 per 100,000 patients after marijuana was legalized, according to ABC News.

Visits to emergency rooms also increased, from an average of 739 per 100,000 between 2010 and 2013 to 956 per 100,000 after legalization.

Recreational marijuana was made legal after Jan. 1, 2014 and is now available in retail shops across the state.

RELATED: Drug Trend Alert: Marijuana Wax, Oil or Concentrates

Toxicologist Dr. Andrew Monte said the report’s results weren’t surprising, arguing more hospital visits related to drugs happen “when the availability of any drug goes up.”

To conduct the study, the authors analyzed billing codes hospitals use when designating patient visits. Researchers cautioned that the codes don’t necessarily prove that marijuana exposure was the main reason a patient was treated.

The report also found that minors had been hospitalized for reasons related to exposure to marijuana 14 times between September and December 2014.

Read Next: Drug Trend: It’s Just a Vape Pen, Right?

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