According to Paul Armentano, deputy director of NORML, the rise in hospital admissions could be attributed to the increased popularity of marijuana-infused edible products and concentrates, which have higher potency than herbal cannabis.

“The imposition of sensible regulations on the cannabis industry, coupled with better public safety information and greater consumer/seller responsibility and accountability are the best strategies to address cannabis-specific health concerns and to prevent future rises in hospital admissions due to cannabis ingestion from taking place,” Armentano told Clinical Pain Advisor.

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On the other hand, changes in hospital discharges and calls to poison control may just reflect increased comfort levels with the drug.

“With the legalization, people feel more comfortable talking to medical professionals, going to the ER, and calling poison control centers without the fear of repercussions. It might look like we’re seeing dramatic changes but really it may be more of an artifact of people’s comfort and willingness to talk to their provider with the fear or legal repercussions,” Dr. Novak concluded.

The study was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The authors report no conflicts of interest.


  1. Davis JM, Mendelson B. Public health effects of medical marijuana legalization in Colorado. AM J Prev Med. 2015 Sep 15; pii: S0749-3797(15)00400-6. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2015.06.034. [Epub ahead of print]
  2. “State Laws” NORML. Accessed October 1, 2015.