Who you gonna call with your pot questions? Denver now has a 24-7 hotline for marijuana health and safety queries: 1-877-741-3777.
Launched this week, the Marijuana Health & Safety line — a pilot program from Denver Health and Denver Environmental Health — will connect pharmacists, nurses and toxicology officials to consumers and industry members curious about topics such as safe-use concerns, serving sizes, allergic reactions, occupational safety hazards, labeling and pesticides, officials said.
“Given the fact that (marijuana) is more prevalent now, the variety of the calls have gone up,” said Chris Hoyte, fellowship director and associate medical director of Denver Health’s Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Center.
Those past poison control calls have included people who weren’t feeling well after consuming cannabis, those concerned about cross-reactions with other medications, those interested in knowing safe and appropriate dosing, and businesses questioning the safety of certain ingredients and additives. Alternatively, Denver’s 311 received a slew of queries and complaints about topics such as licensing, inspections, food regulations and pesticides.
Hoyte and other officials at Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Center, which has created service lines for questions surrounding substances such as opioids, acetaminophen and cough medicine, saw an opportunity to create a similar mechanism for marijuana. The two-dozen nurses, physicians and toxicologists who currently handle the poison and drug center’s phone line will continue to take these queries on this dedicated line.
The city and county of Denver agreed and put $15,000 to help fund the effort. The phone line’s pilot program has a duration of three months, but could be extended, officials said.
From the conversations — which will remain anonymous and confidential — officials hope to glean some insights about health and occupational safety issues, said Danica Lee, director of the Public Health Inspections Division at Denver Environmental Health.
The line could help officials potentially nip issues in the bud before they turn into broader public health concerns, to develop educational campaigns involving topics that become patterns, and to see where additional research is needed, Lee and Hoyte said.
“We might see some trends or we might not; but either way, I think this will be a helpful resource for consumers (and industry members),” Lee said.
The line will not have information such as marijuana business listings and it is not for use during emergencies, officials said.
If someone has a life-threatening emergency or is in need of immediate medical attention, they should call 911, officials said.