Tourists in Colorado are not just buying cannabis just because it is legal – they are ending up in hospitals much more than residents are, a new study indicates. Doctors looked for cannabis-related emergency-room visits at a hospital near Denver International Airport during 2014 when selling recreational cannabis became legal. The results of the study are set to come out on Thursday in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The Physicians discovered that the rate of emergency-room visits connected to cannabis double among tourists in the first year of recreational cannabis sales. The rate jumped from 85 per 10,000 visits in 2013 to 168 per 10,000 visits in 2014.

Among residents in Colorado, the rate of emergency-room visits possibly connected to marijuana use did not change much between 2013 and 2014. Among Colorado resident hospital patients, 106 per 10,000 visits stated that they were experiencing ailments related to cannabis in 2013 112 per 10,000 visits stated that they were experiencing ailments related to cannabis in 2014.

The difference between out-of-state visitors and residents played out throughout the entire state. Doctors compared data from the original hospital to data from the Colorado Hospital Association. This only confirmed their results; this showed that the rate of tourists went up from 78 per 10,000 visits in 2012 to 112 per 10,000 visits in 2013 to 163 per 10,000 visits in 2014. Among Colorado residents, hospital visits connected to marijuana increased from 61 to 70 to 86 to 101, respectively.

Out-of-state residents and residents of Colorado had different things to say about cannabis. Those of Colorado throughout the state complained of gastrointestinal problems, while the most common complaint from tourists was psychiatric, include bellicose behavior and hallucinations. Men were more two to three times more likely than women among both groups to relate their ailments to those of marijuana.


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