The study looked at marijuana-related emergency-room admissions at a hospital in 2013 before the new legalization of recreational marijuana laws took effect and after they were instituted in 2014. It focused on a hospital in Denver near to the Denver International Airport and looked statewide at data from the Colorado Hospital Association.
The doctor-reviewed study, published today (Thursday, Feb. 26) in the New England Journal of Medicine
, found that in 2013 there were 85 visits per every 10,000 visits to the hospital that could possibly have been due to the patient having used marijuana. Those numbers in 2014 were just shy of being double the number of visits — 168 per 10,000 visits.
There are also residents of Denver who use marijuana and visit the hospital as a result, but for residents the numbers of visits between the two years remained virtually unchanged. In 2013 there were 106 visits per 10,000 due to marijuana while in 2014 there were 112 per 10,000 visits.
Reasons for visits
Most of the complaints out-of-state patients had after using pot and going to emergency were psychiatric related, including aggressive behavior and hallucinating. For residents the most common complaint was gastrointestinal.
Throughout the state the results were similar. For tourists in Colorado state, visits to hospitals in the state
due to marijuana-related complaints in 2013 were 112 per 10,000; in 2014 they jumped to 163 per 10,000.
For residents the 2013 figures also saw an increase but they were far lower than the visits paid by those from out-of-state. There 86 per 10,000 visits in 2013 and 101 per 10,000 visits the following year.
A marijuana tourism industry has sprung up since the state legalized recreational pot, with out-of-state people coming to Colorado specifically to purchase and use legal marijuana.