According to a new report from the Colorado Department of Public Safety, since cannabis has been recreationally legalized in Colorado, emergency-room visits related to marijuana are up and overall pot use among adults is on the rise.

2014 brought legalized recreational pot to Colorado, and since then, the state has seen a plethora of benefits- both monetarily and socially. However, with these benefits do come a cost.

ER visits related to cannabis use in Colorado have increased nearly 30% and hospitalizations related to marijuana use increased from 803 per 100,000 to 2,413 per 100,000. Along with that, more than a third of patients in drug treatment facilities reported almost daily use of marijuana.


Although these statistics do pose a sense of concern, there is a bias here that may be inflating the numbers. Since recreational legalization, the social stigma around pot has significantly decreased. It is highly likely that this decreased social stigma is causing more and more people to be honest about cannabis use and report use on surveys and to health workers.

In other words, people may simply be more comfortable discussing their pot use, which may make it appear used on a heavier scale.

Among the long list of additional findings includes:

  • Pot-related DUI’s are down
  • Marijuana arrests are down
  • The impact of legalization on kids is unclear
  • Heavy marijuana use among adults is on the rise

This study is just a starting point in the amount of cannabis research that is going to come in the next few years. While some of these factors may be correlated, it is too soon to draw conclusions and imply any form of causation.