Marijuana Emergency Room Visits Strongly on the Increase

emergency room

Proponents of the liberalization of laws related to marijuana are fond of describing how harmless marijuana is. In fact, the use of marijuana is associated with hundreds of thousands of emergency room visits each year. According to the Drug Awareness Warning Network (DAWN) from a report issued on February 22, 2013, there were 455,668 ER visits related to use of marijuana in the past year The only illicit drug that had a higher number of visits was cocaine, with just over half a million. Among people aged 12 to 24, marijuana was by far the top drug sending people to emergency rooms.

man with stomach pain from marijuana use

Adverse effects sending people to ERs include anxiety, confusion, panic attacks and hallucinations. In the last several years, doctors have also become aware that heavy and chronic use of marijuana can result in what they are calling “cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome.” In other words, heavy use of marijuana can result in uncontrollable, repetitive vomiting and agonizing stomach pain that does not respond to any treatment. Only partial temporary relief is found in a very hot shower or bath. The only cure is stopping the use of marijuana. So much for the claim that marijuana is harmless.

Marijuana Addiction Treatment Admissions by age

These numbers indicate how many people entered publicly-funded drug addiction treatment programs in 2010, sorted by age.

12-17: 103,553

18-20: 53,600

21-25: 72,196

Please note:

  • Since private rehabs are not included in these figures, actual numbers would be higher.
  • This was before the legalization of marijuana for recreational use in starting with Colorado and Washington in 2012.
  • According to the Washington Association for Substance Abuse and Violence Prevention, schools are the biggest original referral source for youth entering rehab.


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