Colorado releases study of the state’s marijuana industry

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The study explores the health effects of marijuana use

The Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE) has released a new study about the health effects of marijuana use. As consumption continues to increase in the state, as well as across the country, it helps to review how the space is changing and show that previously held beliefs of marijuana’s benefits are still being supported.

The CDPHE releases its report every two years, as required by legislation in the Colorado Revised Statutes. Its latest study, “Monitoring Health Concerns Related to Marijuana in Colorado: 2018,” shows that adult use has increased from 13.6% to 15.5% in one year. The biggest age group to see an increase was the 18-25 bracket, which saw an increase of 29.2%.

Contradicting the long-held (by marijuana opponents) belief that legalization would lead to higher adolescent consumption, only 19% of high school students, as well as 5.2% of middle school students, reported having tried marijuana in the 30 days prior to responding to the survey. Those figures are consistent with what is seen across the country, even in states where marijuana is still illegal.

Another fight the marijuana opponents have lost comes from exposure. The number of individuals who reported marijuana exposure to the state’s poison control administrators has stayed almost unchanged since 2014, when marijuana was legalized. In addition, hospitalizations related to marijuana have decreased. In 2017, there were 3,439, but a year earlier, there were 3,517.

Dr. Tista Ghosh, the interim chief medical officer at the CDPHE, said in a statement, “Sound science guides our efforts to protect Coloradans’ health. It’s critical we continue to monitor use in all populations and work to minimize harms that could result from a variety of causes including unintended poisoning, unsafe driving, and mental health issues that may be associated with long-term, habitual use.”