PUBLIC HEALTH CONSEQUENCES

Marijuana legalization normalizes the use of  a drug that directly contributes to mental illness.

  • Expansion of pot will expand mental health treatment needs.

 

Legalization of marijuana for recreational use would signal that the drug is safe; a deadly message to send to Minnesotan’s who may be susceptible to depression, self-medication, substance-use disorders, and suicide.
 

  • No use of marijuana in pregnancy or under the age of 25 is safe, and there is no proof high potency marijuana is safe for adult use.  
     

  • According to the National Institutes of Health, Mayo Clinic, and World Health Organization, marijuana is addictive, and can produce withdrawal and dependence.[i]
     

  • Following legalization, adults with depression had 130% higher odds of marijuana use and a 216% higher odds of daily marijuana use. This is an increase from 46% and 37% higher odds prior to legalization.[ii]
     

  • The percent of suicide incidents in which toxicology results were positive for marijuana has increased from 14% in 2013 to 29% in 2020.[iii]
     

Regular marijuana use has been connected mental health issues (schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, suicidal thoughts, and social anxiety disorder); and learning, memory and attention loss.[iv]
 

  • The potency of today’s “recreational” marijuana makes it a substance that is worse for the human brain and body than alcohol. Research has shown that marijuana’s negative effects on attention, memory, and learning can last for days or weeks after the acute effects of the drug wear off.[v]

 

Hospital emergency departments in states that have legalized marijuana are treating more children and adults who develop paranoia, anxiety and/or psychosis following intentional or accidental ingestion of marijuana edibles.[vi] [vii]
 

  • In Colorado, marijuana-infused edibles account for 45% of the legal marijuana marketplace.[viii]

    • Given their appearance and current trends in packaging and product names, edibles are often particularly attractive to young adults and even children. The THC content of such products has a wide range, and a given edible can contain several individual doses-worth of THC.

 

  • Legalization in Colorado was followed by increases in hospitalizations with marijuana codes, mental illness emergency department visits with marijuana codes, and calls to the poison control center. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ypmed.2017.03.022

 

[i] https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapsychiatry/fullarticle/2765973

[ii] https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2769386utm_source=For_The_Media&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=ftm_links&utm_term=081820

[iii] https://www.thenmi.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/RMHIDTA-Marijuana-Report-2021.pdf

[iv] “The Health E­ffects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids,” The National Academy of Sciences, 2017: https://bit.ly/2jc3pO3

[v] Schweinsburg AD, Brown SA, Tapert SF. The influence of marijuana use on neurocognitive functioning in adolescents. Curr Drug Abuse Rev. 2008;1(1):99-111.

[vi] Dukakis, A. Denver Emergency Room Doctor Seeing More Patients for Marijuana Edibles. Colorado Public Radio. April 29, 2014. Available at: http://www.cpr.org/news/story/denver-emergency-room-doctor-seeing-more-patientsmarijuana-edibles Accessed July 7, 2015.

[vii] Ingold, J. Children’s Hospital sees surge in kids accidentally eating marijuana. The Denver Post. May 21, 2014. Available at: http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_25807342/childrens-hospital-sees-surge-kids-accidentally-eatingmarijuana Accessed July 7, 2015.

[viii] Gunderson, D.C. The Legalization of Marijuana in Colorado: A Prescription for Trouble? Journal of Medical Regulation. 2015;101(1): 8-14.