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Non-Regulated, Edible Marijuana Sending Increasing Number Of People To Emergency Room

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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — Doctors say they are seeing a jump in the number of people seeking help at emergency rooms after eating too much marijuana.


Non-regulated, Edible Marijuana Sending Increasing Number Of People To The Emergency Room

It's easy to eat too much marijuana when it's in edible form as one woman, who bought a pack of gummy bears at medical marijuana dispensary, told me.

"An ear (to eat) to start, and that would have made a little more sense," she said.

But how much did she ingest?

"The whole gummy bear," she said, "your immediate reaction is I'm dizzy, I'm just going to sit on the couch and then you end up falling asleep."

She was lucky that was all that happened. In Colorado, where it's legal for anyone to take pot, emergency room visits from marijuana are up—almost all from legal edibles.

It's legal in California, if you are approved to take it medically, and doctors in Bay Area are starting to see the downside of edibles, too.

"It's an interesting phenomena that is hitting our emergency rooms," San Mateo Police Chief Sue Mannheimer said. "There's no way to know the content of the THC, nor what the other additives are and clearly they are not done in the auspices of public health or standards for restaurant production," San Mateo Police Chief Sue Mannheimer said.

That's true. I found that out personally when I had my medicine tested at Steep Hill Labs in Oakland. A near death illness last year—bacteria in my aorta—caused my doctors to prescribe medical marijuana among other pain medication.

They told me at the lab that I don't know what I'm getting because there are no standards. The Food and Drug Administration won't get involved marijuana is illegal under federal law and emergency rooms are seeing the affects.

"I can tell you anecdotally that we're seeing it, particularly because kids and teenagers are ingesting it," Mannheimer said.

It's all anecdotal because no such records are kept.

"One of my biggest concerns about legalization in California, is the reason we put together this task force, is the edible concern" Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, who is a strong backer of legalized marijuana, said.

Newsom said he's aware of the upswing in emergency room visitx.

"The whole area is a point of legitimate concern. Those that are promoting, as I am, a different approach to the drug policy, need to be very, very honest about the edible issue," he said.

Edible makers contacted for this story said it's up to the individual to make sure they take a responsible amount—even if testing for strength has not yet been standardized.



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