Report Relays Negative Health-Related Effects of Legalization in Colorado

Health
Report Relays Negative Health-Related Effects of Legalization in Colorado

Facebook photo of Jordan Coombs, one of the plaintiffs in a lawsuit over mislabeled edibles give out at the Denver Fair.

Three emergency room doctors at the University of Colorado hospital have published a report about the heath-related effects of marijuana legalization. The report was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, and while some of the positive health-related effects of marijuana were listed, focuses mainly on the negative impacts.

One of the more interesting marijuana-induced conditions the report lists is called cyclic vomiting syndrome, which is allegedly caused by edible ingestion.

“The frequent use of high THC concentration products can lead to a cyclic vomiting syndrome,” the report states. “Patients present with severe abdominal pain, vomiting, and diaphoresis; they often report relief with hot showers.”

This sounds terrible, but it also sounds like someone getting super high, eating too much, and throwing up—and of course people who are really stoned feel better after a hot shower, it’s one of my favorite things to do high because it feels amazing. (Just ask Carl Sagan.) So forgive me if I don’t start condemning weed for its possible induction of “cyclic vomiting syndrome”—just know your limits and be prepared to face the consequences when you can’t help but finish a whole bowl of cookie dough.

The study also describes a “substantial increase in the number of marijuana-related burns,” which I can only interpret as someone who’s too high to cook or too dumb to operate a dab rig.

However, the saddest part of the study is the increase in children hospitalized for unintended marijuana ingestion, which increased from 0 in the 5 years preceding legalization to 14 in the 2 years since, and as of September, 14 children had been hospitalized for marijuana ingestion in 2014 alone. While these are not shockingly high numbers, the increase from 0 to 28 can’t be ignored.

People need to exercise more caution and responsibility in storing their edibles than other adult substances like alcohol or other drugs because kids like food—especially candy. However, this is one aspect of freedom that simply can’t be regulated; it is up to the adult to store edibles in a place where kids cannot get to them. (Every kid who’s ever gone searching for Halloween candy knows there is no limit to the lengths children will go for chocolate.) Although thankfully there are no lasting harmful effects in children who ingest edibles, it’s just sad to think of an innocent child suffering through a trip they have no ability to comprehend, and the responsibility lies with the consumer to prevent this.