Colorado hospitals see spike in youth pot illness since state legalization, research shows

FILE - In this Dec. 31, 2012 file photo, Rachel Schaefer, of Denver, smokes marijuana on the official opening night of Club 64, a marijuana-specific social club, where a New Year's Eve party was held in Denver. Colorado lawmakers have backed off plans to regulate marijuana clubs, saying the state would invite a federal crackdown by approving Amsterdam-style pot clubs. Colorado already has about 30 private pot clubs, according to legislative analysts, but they operate under a patchwork of local regulations and are sometimes raided by law enforcement. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, File)

STATEWIDE — Colorado hospitals have experienced an increase in visits involving teens and young adults testing positive for marijuana since medical and recreational pot was legalized, according to research.

Dr. George Wang of Children’s Hospital Colorado will be presenting a study Monday in San Francisco. In the study, it’s revealed that the annual number of marijuana-related emergency room visits logged by Colorado’s children’s hospital system increased from 106 in 2005 to 631 in 2014.

Additionally, the rate of pot-related visits among total hospitalizations involving those ages 13 to 21 increased over fourfold that same span, with about four visits per ever 1,000 patients in 2015 involving marijuana, according to Dr. Wang.

The report further shows children’s hospitals in Colorado treated 3,443 patients from 2004 through 2014 who were either admitted for marijuana use or subsequently tested positive for THC.

About two-thirds of those patients were also given psychiatric consultations, which surged from 65 in 2005 to 450 in 2014, Wang says in the study.

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, about 1.8 million Americans ages 12 to 17 are marijuana users.

Colorado’s legal marijuana industry sold $1.3 billion worth of pot last year, according to state tax data that took into account both medical and recreational dispensaries.

This report originally appeared in The Washington Times. Click here to see the original story.

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