TUCSON, Ariz. — As marijuana becomes more readily available, Banner UMC in Tucson is seeing more people who are under the influence in the trauma center.
That's leading to more days spent in the hospital, and even an increased risk of death, according to the chief trauma surgeon, Dr. Bellal Joseph.
"Patients who come in with the same injury, the same age -- if you match them one by one, and the only difference between the two is marijuana use -- what we're seeing is that those patients actually have more days in the intensive care unit," Dr. Joseph said.
Doctors nationally, not just in Tucson, are seeing these patients experience more blood clots, pulmonary embolism, stroke, and even an increased risk of death by about 5 percent, according to Dr. Joseph.
Over the past three years, almost 3,000 patients went to Banner UMC after using marijuana and having a traumatic injury. The majority of them were between 20 and 40-years-old, which is generally a healthy age group.
But Dr. Joseph said this group of people had a longer road to recovery.
"If you're using it, your injury and outcome after injury is worse," Dr. Joseph said. "So really be extra safe and careful if you decide to use it."