Health Advice



Cannabis users end up in the ER more often than nonusers

By Michael Roizen, M.D. on

When Cheech and Chong sing "I'm in Love with Marijuana, Makes Me Feel Just Like an Iguana," it might be smart to ask if those two slightly addled hippies could actually leap safely from branch to branch or plummet 40 feet from a tree to the ground without injury, as the wily reptile can do.

A study in BMJ Open Respiratory Research indicates that the answer would be a resounding no. It reports that one out of every 25 folks using cannabis will end up in the emergency room during the year; and overall ER visits are 22% higher among cannabis users than nonusers. They're literally tripping and crashing because cannabis use reduces motor skills and coordination, and impairs driving.

In addition, 14% of users in this study reported respiratory problems. (All smoking harms the lungs and heart.)

This study is one in a long list that indicate cannabis may cause health problems. Plus, there are an alarming number of kids who accidently ingest edibles, and there's the harm from secondhand smoke.

Where does that leave would-be users? I think cannabis edibles are safer than smoking but make sure they aren't accessible to youngsters. Topical creams with CBD (a pain-soothing ingredient in cannabis that doesn't make you buzzed) are beneficial for many. And in specific medical situations -- some cancer cases, for example -- the active ingredient, THC, brings relief. Just know that like alcohol impairs reaction time and judgment, so does cannabis. And never smoke and drive -- that's one smart way to stay out of the ER.



Health pioneer Michael Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer emeritus at the Cleveland Clinic and author of four No. 1 New York Times bestsellers. His next book is "The Great Age Reboot: Cracking the Longevity Code for a Younger Tomorrow." Do you have a topic Dr. Mike should cover in a future column? If so, please email

(c)2022 Michael Roizen, M.D.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

(c) 2022 Michael Roizen, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.



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