Teen ER visits linked to marijuana are climbing in legal era, Colorado doctor finds

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Sam Wang said his study contrasts with surveys that suggest youth marijuana use in Colorado has not increased since legalization. The findings add another layer to understanding how marijuana legalization has affected kids. In a previous study, though, Wang found that the number of young kids going to the emergency room for accidental marijuana exposure increased following legalization. The rate of those visits increased as well — though by 2015 marijuana still accounted for only four out of every 1,000 visits. The first is a hospital billing code used on a patient’s chart when marijuana is involved in a patient’s medical problem.

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The number of teenagers going to the emergency room at Children’s Hospital Colorado for what appeared to be marijuana-related reasons increased significantly after legalization, a new study by a Children’s doctor found.

Dr. Sam Wang said his study contrasts with surveys that suggest youth marijuana use in Colorado has not increased since legalization. But he said the study also has its limitations, meaning it adds important data to the debate over legalization but is not the final word on it.

“Everything has to be taken with a grain of salt,” he said. “I don’t think one database is perfect. But this is just another way to look at the data that shows more teenagers are coming to the ER.”

Wang gathered data on marijuana-related emergency room visits to Children’s Hospital and its satellite clinics for teenagers and young adults up to age 21 by looking at two measures.

The first is a hospital billing code used on a patient’s chart when marijuana...

Read the full article @ The Cannabist