Marijuana-Related Emergency Department Visits on the Rise

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the Neurology Advisor take:

During the past few years, the use and abuse of marijuana has significantly increased, especially in states where it is now legal for recreational or medical purposes.

A retrospective study looked at data from the U.S. Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) from 2007 to 2012 and found that the number of emergency department visits with coding for marijuana increased by 50.4% in Colorado, where the medical and recreational use of marijuana is now legal. The study did not include Washington, the other state where recreational use is legal.

Even in states where marijuana is only legal for medical purposes, emergency department visits due to the drug are on the rise. In this same time period, visits increased by 55% in Hawaii, 49.1% in New Jersey, and 32% in Arizona.

When the researchers looked at states where all marijuana use is illegal, they found Texas had a surprisingly large increase of 43.2% of marijuana-related emergency department visits. Not all states saw this drastic of an increase — occurrences only increased by 7.21% in Oklahoma and 0.75% in South Carolina.

These results come just as Congress quietly ended the federal government’s ban on medical marijuana, a provision written into the expansive federal spending measure. Already, 32 states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for medical purposes. The results of this study raise concerns about the consequences of lifting this ban.

Man smoking marijuana
Marijuana-Related Emergency Department Visits on the Rise

Cannabis use and abuse have increased significantly during the past few years, especially in states where use of the substance is now legal, new research suggests.

A retrospective study examining data from the US Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) showed that emergency department (ED) visits with International Classification of Diseases, 9th Edition (ICD-9) coding for cannabis use grew 50.4% between 2007 and 2012 in Colorado ― one of the first two states to legalize both medical and recreational use of marijuana.

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