“We’re now counting 37 cannabis-related diagnoses a day,” Dr. Roneet Lev, an addiction medicine doctor at Scripps Mercy Hospital in San Diego, said about her emergency department. “It’s been steadily increasing over the years. When I started in the 1990s, there was no such thing. Now I see 1 to 2 cases per shift. The most common symptom is psychosis.”
“We probably see 20 THC-induced psychoses for every amphetamine-induced psychosis,” said Ben Cort, who runs a drug and alcohol treatment center in Colorado. One study showed an increase of 24% in cases of psychoses in emergency departments in Colorado in the five years following marijuana’s legalization in that state in 2012.
Since then, legal marijuana has been transformed into a potent and unrecognizable product.
“When I speak at parent nights at schools, most adults still think it’s like the weed we smoked when we were teens in the ’80s, [which had] between 3 to 5% THC per gram of flower,” said Laura Stack, an advocate against cannabis abuse in Colorado. “We never had today’s high-potency concentrates, vapes or edibles.”