Mental illness implications of cannabis use must not be ignored

Mental illness implications of cannabis use must not be ignored

For California voters, recreational marijuana legalization was sold as a win-win-win: billions of dollars in new tax revenues, a chance for law enforcement to focus on more serious crimes, and the societal acceptance of a relatively low-risk alternative to alcohol.

But as the state stumbles through its second year of fully legalized cannabis, the reality appears to be more lose-lose-lose.

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Dangers of Marijuana Experienced Firsthand

Dangers of Marijuana Experienced Firsthand

I recently finished my residency in emergency medicine and began to practice in Pueblo, Colorado. I grew up there, and I was excited to return home. However, when I returned home, the Pueblo I once knew had drastically changed. Where there were once hardware stores, animal feed shops, and homes along dotted farms, I now found marijuana shops—and lots of them. As of January 2016, there were 424 retail marijuana stores in Colorado compared with 202 McDonald’s restaurants.1

These stores are not selling the marijuana I had seen in high school. Multiple different types of patients are coming into the emergency department with a variety of unexpected problems such as marijuana-induced psychosis, dependence, burn injuries, increased abuse of other drugs, increased homelessness and its associated problems, and self-medication with marijuana to treat their medical problems instead of seeking appropriate medical care.

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