When Marijuana Use Requires a Trip to Urgent Care

May 13, 2022

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Excessive Marijuana Use and When to Seek Care

Colorado legalized marijuana for medical use and recreational use in the early 2000’s. Since the legalization of marijuana, Colorado’s cannabis sales have been strong, with the Colorado Division of Criminal Justice reporting $387 million total revenue from taxes, licenses and fees related to 2,700 licensed marijuana business in 2020.  

As marijuana use has increased, so has marijuana-related hospitalizations. An individual who chooses to partake in marijuana use should be aware of the potential immediate and long-term health effects of its use. It is important to seek care if you are experiencing sudden negative symptoms, or if you feel like you are subject to long-term health effects from marijuana use. 

Immediate Effects & Long-Term Marijuana Effects

Shortly after smoking or taking marijuana, an individual may feel a “high,” otherwise known as a happy or relaxed sensation. Negative symptoms may include: 

  • slow reaction time
  • distortions of time and distance
  • anxiety
  • headache
  • dry mouth
  • bloodshot eyes

Excessive amount of ingestion has been reported to cause hallucinations where a user hears or sees things that do not exist. 

Smoking marijuana over a long period of time can cause lung issues including chronic bronchitis, cough and wheezing. It can also cause memory impairment, anxiety, depression and increase a person’s risk of heart attack and stroke. 

People who use marijuana should not drive or operate machinery for at least 3 hours after smoking/vaping and 4 hours after eating marijuana. 

There is no known safe amount of marijuana use in pregnancy. 

Where to Seek Care at Denver Health

The Denver Health Adult Urgent Care Center and Emergency Department  are equipped to treat patients experiencing serious symptoms from marijuana use. If you’re having symptoms that are concerning and causing panic, seek emergency care or immediately call 911. 

Marijuana and Children

With THC products becoming more readily available, it is critical to keep all products away from children. Children can confuse THC-edibles for candy and begin exhibiting symptoms quickly due to their smaller body composition compared to an adult. Many children who consume edibles require hospitalization because their symptoms are so severe. 

Denver Health has a specific Pediatric Emergency Department and Urgent Care Center. This pediatric unit is equipped to handle children who have been exposed to marijuana. 

Because of adolescent brain development, there is no known safe amount of marijuana use for adolescents. Adolescents who have difficulty stopping using cannabis should talk with their healthcare provider. 

Marijuana Addiction

The Center for Disease Control reports that 3 in 10 people who use marijuana have a marijuana-related disorder, including using more marijuana than intended, attempting to stop marijuana use and failing, craving marijuana, and forgoing activities with friends and family to use marijuana. If marijuana is affecting your life or the daily activities of someone you love, there are resources to help recover from marijuana addiction.

Center for Addiction Medicine

Denver Health’s Center for Addiction Medicine (CAM) is designed to uplift and support those suffering from various addictions while actively working toward a rehabilitation with our long-term treatment plans. CAM has a wealth of resources to help in the path toward recovery. 

Next Steps for Getting Marijuana Symptoms & Addiction Treatment

Denver Health actively encourages those who feel adverse symptoms from marijuana consumption to seek care from a provider. Please use a transportation service or get a ride to a healthcare facility. Do not drive under the influence of marijuana. 

The Denver Health Adult Urgent Care Center is just a short walking distance from many areas of Denver. We welcome you to visit our convenient adult urgent care location if you are experiencing health concerns from excessive marijuana use. Our Adult Urgent Care Center is open every day from 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. and you can usually expect little to no wait times. 

Denver Health providers are nonjudgmental and do not decline care for lack of pay.