Medical researchers at UC San Francisco have released a study, first of its kind, about how legalized marijuana has impacted health care.
They studied more than 28 million hospital records in Colorado, before and after the state decriminalized recreational pot in 2012.
Since then, the state has seen a 10-percent increase in automobile accidents which is a significant change since decriminalization. Alcohol abuse and overdoses rose five-percent, although the study found there was no increase in marijuana-related hospital admissions.
The study shows that the number of hospitalizations for chronic pain actually dropped five-percent.
Researchers say public health officials do need to do more to warn against the dangers of impaired driving and to realize the need to increase efforts to combat abuse of other substances as more states legalize pot.
“This unique transition to legalization provides an extraordinary opportunity to investigate hospitalizations among millions of individuals in the presence of enhanced access. Our findings demonstrate several potential harmful effects that are relevant for physicians and policymakers, as well as for individuals considering cannabis use.”
– Gregory Marcus, the senior author of the study and associate chief of cardiology for research
Colorado, California and seven other states now allow recreational use of marijuana — It’s legal for medical reasons in 28 states.
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