The number of Americans heading to the emergency room due to marijuana-related injuries or illnesses is on the rise, according to a new United Nations report.
There has been a 59% increase in hospital visits related to marijuana use between 2006 and 2010, and a 14% increase in the number of cannabis-related hospital admissions, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime said in a report released Thursday.
The report comes as national support for marijuana is on the rise. Twenty-two states have legalized some form of medical marijuana, and more states are considering legalizing it for recreational use. Colorado and Washington state legalized recreational marijuana use after the 2012 elections. In a January CNN/ORC International poll, 55% of Americans said they believed pot should be legalized.
The U.N. agency warned Thursday that loosening regulations is causing more people to indulge in the marijuana as the drug’s risks are downplayed.
“In the United States, the lower perceived risk of cannabis use has led to an increase in its use,” the report said.
The number of people in the U.S. over the age of 12 who have used the drug rose from 10.3% in 2008 to 12.1% in 2012, the U.N. report said.
As msnbc reported earlier this month, coverage of Colorado’s legalization of marijuana has focused on tragic occurrences in the wake of recreational marijuana use getting the green light. UCLA public policy professor Mark Kleiman told msnbc at the time that it’s too early to properly gauge the impact of Colorado’s pot policy.
The amount of marijuana confiscated around the globe fell between 2012 and 2011, the report said. Worldwide seizures of marijuana in 2012 totaled 5,350 tons, down from the 6,260 tons seized the year before.