Illinois officially kicked off legal recreational marijuana sales on January 1st, and already the state is seeing an increase in marijuana related emergency room visits.
Doctors and other health officials in the state have said hospital visits related to the drug are on the rise. Within hours of the New Year, already several people had shown up to emergency rooms in the Chicago area with cannabis related illnesses.
“New Year’s Eve through the first, we were already seeing some patients who were overindulging on cannabis,” commented Dr. Trevonne Thompson, UIC Emergency Medicine.
The University of Illinois at Chicago Medical Center has treated several patients experiencing cannabis-related illnesses in the first nine days of the year. Symptoms include restlessness, heart palpitations and anxiety, and even more severe ones such as psychosis and hallucinations.
“I worked several shifts since the new year has started and I’m seeing a cannabis-related incident just about every shift that I have worked so far,” Thompson added.
According to Thompson, novice users are coming into the hospital at the highest rate.
“Folks that have not used in a long time or are now just deciding to try it because it is legal,” he said.
“So perhaps before a couple of puffs was enough to get you the effect that you were looking for, and now perhaps a little less can get you what you were looking for and now some adverse symptoms,” said Thompson.
“We were anticipating this a little bit, and then if we look at places like Colorado, their experience was that they had more ER visits when cannabis was legal,” he said.
“By the time the first dose kicks in you have a lot in your system that is circulating and you can get yourself into a situation where you have more of the product that you have liked and you start having symptoms,” Thompson said. “Go slow and start low. Take it easy and do not just jump right in.”