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California ERs report 1800% rise in pot-related visits for senior citizens
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Summary of the Article:

A new study from the University of California San Diego reveals a shocking 1,808% increase in cannabis-related emergency room (ER) visits among Californians aged 65 and older from 2005 to 2019. This surge in senior citizens visiting the ER is partly due to the increasing potency of THC in current marijuana strains compared to decades ago. Physicians express concern about this trend and emphasize the need for drug screenings for all seniors.

The higher levels of THC in today's strains are likely causing elderly users to experience confusion, nasty falls, and other adverse effects. Elderly individuals who used marijuana in the 1960s when THC levels were lower may be unprepared for the stronger effects of modern strains. The study also highlights that cannabis use is associated with increased risk for psychosis, delirium, paranoia, and other acute psychiatric symptoms among seniors.

While the availability of recreational cannabis does not seem to correlate with a higher rate of increase in cannabis-related ER visits among older people, the high ER rates among older adults with high comorbidity are concerning due to potential acute cardiac, respiratory, and psychiatric effects.

Medical experts emphasize that elderly Californians who use marijuana may assume it is safe since it is available without a prescription, but this is not necessarily the case. Seniors often turn to cannabis to treat underlying conditions like chronic pain, sleep deprivation, depression, or anxiety when other medications are not effective.

The study also provides data from New York and Colorado, where ER visits for cannabis-related diagnoses among seniors have increased significantly after the legalization of recreational marijuana. Experts stress the importance of recognizing the risks associated with cannabis use, especially for the older population, and call for increased awareness and education on safe usage to prevent adverse outcomes.

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