How EMTs and Doctors Treat Cannabis Overconsumption

Coming Soon to Canada

Over the past several weeks, as Canada prepares for the legalization of adult-use, recreational cannabis in October, Canadian media has been filled with cautionary articles about the risk of cannabis overconsumption.

CBC News reports that emergency room visits in Canada, for what some are calling cannabis “green-out,” have risen dramatically over the past several years. In Ontario, Canada’s most populated province, federal health officials say that ER visits due to so-cannabis overdoses have nearly tripled over the past five years.

Cannabis overdosing has been a big issue in the United States for several years now, as more states legalize recreational use.

And we should note that we are not talking about the growing crisis surrounding so-called synthetic marijuana, a manufactured drug often found in states where marijuana remains illegal. There have been terrifying reports about people overdosing on synthetic marijuana with life-threatening and sometimes lethal results.

Stronger Cannabis = Stronger Effects

In Colorado, which legalized recreational cannabis more than four years ago, doctors say they’ve seen a spike in the number of overconsumption cases among adults.

Dr. Eric Lavonas: 3-4 weekly cases

“We see a few a week,” said Dr. Eric Lavonas, an emergency physician and medical toxicologist at Denver Health Medical Center. He also works with the Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Center, the poison control emergency contact for Colorado and five other states. “We don’t really keep numbers on it, but my best guess would be three or four a week.”

Lavonas told Leafly that the arrival of high-potency cannabis strains and high-concentration THC edibles over the past several years has been a game-changer.

“It’s just a different marijuana than what was easily available ten years ago,” he said. “And

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