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Inexperienced cannabis users experimenting with infused edibles are finding their way to the emergency Health departments in Colorado way more than before.
Throughout history, cannabis has been severely criticized and its consumption became a taboo. As the general public started to change its attitude towards pot, so did the weed start to gain in potency due to improved cultivation practices.
Weed became significantly stronger over the last 20 years, yet it is not weed rolled in blunts and joints that’s causing these ER visits—this time, edibles are the main culprit.
Or at least the people who take them unbeknownst to their potency.
According to the Annals of Internal Medicine study, between 2012 and 2017, edibles-induced visits accounted for 10.7% of the total emergency room visits.
The study went on to say that visits tied to both inhaled and edible cannabis use were mostly for gastrointestinal issues, intoxication and psychiatric symptoms, while edibles led to more acute psychiatric events and cardiovascular issues.
Poor dosing decisions are to blame
Since marijuana got legalized in Colorado, producers of these edibles have been competing against each other in who can make the most potent product.
Some of these edibles contain between 500mg and 1000mg of THC, completely defeating the purpose of dosing, as that serving could be split into 20 or 30 doses easily.
The lead researcher of the Annals of Internal Medicine study, Dr Andrew Monte, said that these doses are way too heavy for beginners and sometimes even moderate users that aren’t used to the way edibles affect the user.
“If you smoke and you have a brief amount of hallucination, but then it goes away pretty quickly, you may not come to the emergency department,” Monte said. “But if you develop psychosis and it’s lasting for hours, you might come to the emergency department.”
Dosing cannabis can be tricky, especially if you are a novice user trying to dose yourself with homemade edibles. A dose of 10mg to 30mg is just enough for new to moderate users, while heavy users can still achieve the same trick with 100mg edibles.
Dr. Monte pointed out that even though the number of cannabis-related visits grew in comparison to previous years, it was to be expected. Not only that, but that number is still significantly lower than alcohol-related hospitalizations.
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