cannabis emergency ambulance
What's up with all the cannabis-related ER visits?

It is becoming more widely known that the cannabis plant can help suffering people in many ways. That is an awesome fact that is always worth praising.

One of the biggest arguments in favor of cannabis is that no one has ever died because of cannabis toxicity, unlike other substances, many of which are federally legal.

But just because no one has died from cannabis toxicity doesn't mean that cannabis consumption has always resulted in pleasurable experiences.

In some cases, cannabis consumption can result in undesirable experiences, and in rare cases, that undesirable experience could end in a visit to the emergency room.

Cannabis-related emergency room visits tripled after legalization

Colorado was the first state in the country to vote to legalize cannabis for recreational use (2012). It was also the first in the nation to begin legal adult-use cannabis sales (2014)

A recent study found that since legalization cannabis-related emergency room visits at UCHealth University of Colorado roughly tripled for the years in which data was available.

Researchers were able to identify 9,973 cannabis-related emergency department visits at the hospital from 2012 to 2016,

The study was cited far and wide by mainstream media, and touted by cannabis opponents as 'proof' that cannabis legalization is failing. But how much merit does that claim have?

The study needs to be put into context

cannabis doctor
Context is critical for understanding any public health or medical study.

Many of the stories surrounding this study did not specify that it only involved one hospital's data.

It's quite possible that other hospitals would show similar trends, but it's also possible that they wouldn't.

One big thing that people need to also keep in mind is that the stigma surrounding cannabis shrank considerably after legalization in Colorado.

Whereas many people in Colorado in the past would have never considered going to the emergency room when experiencing undesirable effects from cannabis, after legalization they would.

Furthermore, it's tough to differentiate between whether cannabis was thought to be the cause of perceived health issues, versus how many actually were.

Health issues are something that absolutely should be taken seriously, and the Green Flower team wants to emphasize that. But we also want to urge readers to keep this study in perspective.

What should people do if they are experiencing undesirable effects from cannabis use?

Cannabis use is not for everyone. A vast majority of people that try cannabis do not have issues, but some people do experience problems.

Cannabis overdose can include panic attacks, racing thoughts, heightened anxiety, paranoia, and other side effects.

The best remedy for a cannabis overdose like this is 200mg of CBD under the tongue (or any CBD you can find).

CBD can help counteract the adverse effects of taking too much THC, which is why you always want to keep a supply of it on hand.

What's more, just as people can have allergic reactions to various substances and non-cannabis things that they come into contact with, so too are some people allergic to cannabis.

Also, one common condition reported by people experiencing adverse reactions to cannabis use is cannabis hyperemesis, which is associated with uncontrollable nausea.

If people are experiencing cannabis hyperemesis they should try taking a warm shower and sleeping if possible. CBD may also help here.

In addition to the CBD remedy, time is the ultimate medicine for a non-desirable cannabis consumption experience. If someone can let enough time go by, they should be fine.

And don't be so quick to give up on THC-rich cannabis products if you're new to them and have an unpleasant experience. Taking much less THC the next time around could be a completely different experience.

But if someone feels that they are experiencing a major health issue, of any kind, there's nothing wrong with seeking medical help.


How to Find Your Ideal Cannabis Dose (Video)

Finding your ideal dose is one of the most important aspects to truly optimizing your cannabis experience. Unfortunately, a large number of people are still taking way too much, getting improper guidance, or simply using the wrong cannabinoids and terpenes for their specific needs. In this Green Flower session, Jordan Tishler, MD, will share what he’s learned from treating hundreds of patients with cannabis, to help you dial in your ideal cannabis dose...

Watch: How to Find Your Ideal Cannabis Dose

How to find your ideal cannabis dose