What Parents Need to Know Today
When recreational use of marijuana is fully legal in your state, know the following:
Now people 21 and older can buy, sell, grow and share marijuana for purposes of just getting high.
Marijuana will start to increase in your communities as pot stores open, mobile delivery begins, home grows continue to mature and more people try marijuana for the first time. This increased access along with product advertising and promotion - now allowed - means kids will be more exposed to marijuana than before legalization.
All of this changes the calculus of drug use - what was an individual or small group decision to use marijuana for getting “high , ” is now replaced by media encouragement to use marijuana for “promised benefit and/or lifestyle.”
This also reduces the perception of harm among many of our teens and young adults.
Parents need to get up - to - date
Today’s pot is NOT the pot of a parent’s teenage years – today is a new era in Cannabis:
Potency in marijuana is defined by “THC levels.” THC ( Delta 9 tetrahydrocannabinol) is the cannabinoid in marijuana that intoxicates a user and addicts. As recently as the early 1990s marijuana contained around 3% THC. Today, one does not find marijuana in plant form with much less than 18% THC .
Modes of ingestion have changed:
Plant form – the marijuana you roll into a “ joint” or smoke in a “bong” is still widely available. It is officially called “flower” or “herb” and contains average THC levels in the mid-20% range.
THC concentrate in Liquid form – is used in E - Cigarettes or Vaporizers a.k.a. vapes. A user is “vaping” when using these devices. The aerosol create by these devices does not have much smell. Liquid nicotine and liquid flavorings can also be used in vape devices. THC levels vary widely in vape liquids. Some are labeled; most are not.
THC concentrate in Solid form – a.k.a. dabs, wax, shatter or budder – are generally smoked via a bong - like device. Vape pens that handle wax are also in the market place. A user is “dabbing” when consuming this way. Dabs are very potent - 90+% THC.
Edibles – Every kind of food or drink we normally consume can be infused with THC, and they are. Potency varies greatly and serving size can be difficult to manage, i. e. a small portion of a cookie, can be one serving. Eating an entire cookie can result in ingesting large amounts of THC.
Marijuana is addictive – NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse) and the US Surgeon General’ s 2016 Comprehensive Report on Addiction in America finds about 30% of marijuana users exhibit a Cannabis Use Disorder. Teens in treatment for addiction to marijuana today out-pace treatment for other addictions.
Teenage brains are different from the adult brain neurologically and can be more easily injured by THC. That injury can lead to long term damage.
THC is fat soluble, which means it stays and is detectable in the body for 2 - 3 weeks after use.
Marijuana is NOT better than alcohol for your kids.
Inhaling marijuana smoke can injure lungs in the same way tobacco smoke does.
Marijuana use does impair normal driving function and should be avoided - traffic fatalities due to marijuana increase substantially in states that legalize.
Marijuana use goes up in all age groups including teens (12 - 17) and young adults (18 - 25) when legalized.
Cities & counties may retain some local control to restrict or ban commercial pot within it’s boundaries.