In 2014, Colorado became the first state in the U.S. to legalize recreational marijuana. Such a bold move sparked debate in state and nationwide, but according to new health data from the Colorado state government, legal weed hasn’t ushered the end of days. In fact, the stats point to marijuana being used safely and effectively. This is more great news for the state, which recently reported more than $1 billion in sales in 2016.
This week, the Retail Marijuana Public Health Advisory Committee released an in-depth report on how marijuana has impacted Coloradans over the last year. The full report is some 300 pages long and contains both state and federal data on marijuana use.
Unsurprisingly, marijuana usage among Coloradans is about double the federal average of eight percent. In 2015, demographic data showed 26 percent of men surveyed used marijuana and 37 percent of people who identified as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. The report also found that despite its trendiness, only 30 percent of marijuana users chose to vape the plant. Those who consume their high via edibles came in at around 33 percent.
Still, only six percent of the people surveyed said they use marijuana daily or close to it. This is low compared to the 16 percent who smoke tobacco and the 22 percent who drink alcohol. In terms of safety, the report discovered marijuana-related calls to poison control declined, as did visits to the emergency room.
In addition to usage data, the report contains follow-ups to questions about the health benefits and detriments of smoking marijuana. Evidence suggests daily usage could lead to impaired memory and cognitive abilities in young adults. The debate around whether or not smoking marijuana causes lung cancer wasn’t resolved in this report, but new findings show marijuana smoke contains some of the same cancer-causing chemicals found in tobacco smoke.