(Reuters Health) – More visits to the emergency room by teens in Colorado are related to marijuana use than in the past, suggesting an impact of the drug’s legalization that needs closer attention, researchers say.
Between 2005 and 2015, the proportion of emergency department or urgent care visits by youth ages 13 to 20 for pot-related illnesses rose from 1.8 per 1,000 visits to 4.9 per 1,000, the study team reports in Journal of Adolescent Health.
“Most studies evaluating the impact of marijuana legalization on adolescents’ use are survey-based studies to evaluate overall recreational use,” said lead author Dr. George Wang, a pediatrician at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora.
And those surveys suggest that teen pot use hasn’t increased much in states where the drug is legal, the study team notes.
Marijuana is legal for medical use in 29 states and Washington DC. Eight states plus Washington DC, including Colorado, have legalized recreational use as well.
“We wanted to study the immediate health impact on adolescents, specifically emergency and urgent care visits,” Wang said in an email. “Marijuana-related (emergency…