Even though medical marijuana remains illegal under the U.S. federal law, 29 states and the District of Columbia have legalized it. Whereas 18 of them have only legalized the use of non-psychotic marijuana extract called cannabidiol (CBD), states like Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, as well as District of Columbia have legalized the weed for recreational purposes as well, allowing people to possess and use it without the need for a doctor’s prescription.
Legalization has its own advantages and disadvantages, such as revenue boost and addiction. According to the Arcview Market Research, North America marijuana sales reached $6.7 billion in 2016, growing at a rate of 30 percent. Other advantages include less money supporting organized crime as the drug becomes less profitable in the black market, better safety measures as well as wider access for medical use. On the other hand, the disadvantages are mostly related to health risks because of its addictive nature and also due to the fact that it is considered a gateway drug for more dangerous drugs like cocaine and heroin.
Colorado’s ‘pot culture’ and vomiting illness
One of the first states to legalize recreational use of cannabis is Colorado, which has embraced the “pot culture” with its weed weddings and unity bowls. Perhaps one of its most talked about milestones in relation to weed is the increased tax revenues arising out of medical and recreational marijuana sales that reached $1.3 billion in 2016. However, such milestones are also dotted with concerns for public health safety, where cases of children’s hospital and regional poison center (RPC) visits due to exposure to marijuana have increased, based on a study that was published in JAMA Pediatrics on Sept. 6, 2016.
Besides altering brain chemistry and causing mental disorders like depression and psychosis, weed may also lead to a condition known as vomiting illness characterized by nausea, vomiting and abdominal pains. The condition is called cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome (CHS) and its occurrence is becoming more common in Colorado and other states where marijuana use is increasing post legalization.
As identified by Dr. Kennon Heard, a professor with the University of Colorado School of Medicine where one or two cases of CHS are reported on a daily bases, easy access to marijuana exposes users to high tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content on a frequent basis. According to him, people suffering from this condition may also experience kidney shut-down due to dehydration from persistent vomiting and extreme abdominal pain. The symptoms come and go and can last for days and weeks, thereby stressing that anyone having such symptoms should get themselves evaluated by a medical provider.
Similar cases have also been reported at the UC Davis Medical Center, where Dr. John Richards, an emergency medicine physician and professor, has observed that college-goers come in once or twice a day vomiting multiple times an hour and screaming uncontrollably. He attributes the rise in such incidences since recreational marijuana use became legal.
Drug addiction is dangerous
Misuse of any drug, whether prescription-based or an illicit one, is bound to have repercussions on the user’s overall health. Chronic intentional use can lead to addiction, which is hard to quit. An accidental overdose may even cause death. Legalization does not mean that the drug cannot have side effects. If a person chooses to abuse it, he or she is likely to suffer in more serious ways than one can imagine. It is better to be informed than regret.
The Texas Substance Abuse Helpline can answer your questions on addiction as well as provide information on some of the finest substance abuse treatment programs in Texas. Addiction recovery programs often begin with purging the body off the toxins accumulated from long-term use and preparing it for further treatment. Call our 24/7 helpline (866) 971-2658 or chat online with our representative to locate the best substance abuse rehab clinic in Texas which offers customized treatment plans.