Recreational marijuana users nearly 25% more likely to receive emergency care and hospitalization

Recreational marijuana users nearly 25% more likely to receive emergency care and hospitalization

(Nation World News) — Recreational marijuana use is associated with an increased risk of emergency room care and hospitalization for any reason, a new study found.

“Cannabis use is not as gentle or safe as some might think,” said study author Nicholas Vozoris, an assistant professor and clinical investigator in the division of respiratory sciences in the department of medicine at the University of Toronto.

“Our study shows that use of this substance is associated with serious negative outcomes, in particular, emergency room visits and hospitalizations,” Vozoris said in an email.

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Recreational marijuana carries a significant risk of hospitalization

The study, published Monday in the BMJ Open Respiratory Research journal, analyzed national health records data from more than 30,000 residents of Ontario, Canada, between the ages of 12 and 65, over a six-year period.

The study found that recreational marijuana users were 22% more likely to go to an emergency department or be hospitalized than those who didn’t use it.

Results were obtained even after adjusting the analysis for more than 30 confounders, including other illicit drug use, alcohol use, and smoking.

“Correctional bodily injury was the leading cause of emergency department visits and hospitalizations among cannabis users, followed by respiratory causes,” Vozoris said.

A 2021 study found that marijuana smokers had higher blood and urine levels of several smoke-related toxins, including naphthalene, acrylamide and acrylonitrile, than non-smokers. Naphthalene is associated with anemia, liver and neurological damage, while acrylamide and acrylonitrile have been associated with cancer and other health problems.

Another study last year found that teens were twice as likely to report “wheezing” in the chest after vaping marijuana, compared to smoking cigarettes or using e-cigarettes.

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The relationship between marijuana use and health

Several studies have shown an association between marijuana use and injuries, both physical and mental.

Heavy marijuana use by teens and young adults with mood disorders such as depression and bipolar disorder has been linked to an increased risk of self-harm, suicide attempts, and death, according to a 2021 study.

Another study from the same year found that regular cannabis users, including teenagers, are increasingly flocking to emergency rooms complaining of a serious intestinal discomfort known as “cannabis hyperemesis syndrome,” or CHS.

Sam Wang, a pediatric emergency medicine specialist and toxicologist at Children’s Hospital Colorado, told Nation World News in a previous interview that the condition causes nausea, severe abdominal pain and prolonged vomiting “that can last for hours.”

A review published earlier this year looked at studies on more than 43,000 people and found a negative effect of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the main psychoactive compound in cannabis, on higher levels of brain thinking.

For young people, this effect can lead to “resulting in low educational attainment and, in adults, poor job performance and dangerous car driving. These consequences can be worse in habitual and heavy users,” he told Nation World News. Study co-author Dr. Alexandre Dumais, clinical associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Montreal, in a previous interview.

Vozoris said, “At a time when the “health care system around the world is already strained during the COVID pandemic and difficult economic times … cannabis use is on the rise around the world.”

“The results of our study should ‘set off alarm bells’ in the minds of the public, health professionals and political leaders,” he said in his email.