State reports on health effects of marijuana, addresses potency

Much of the existing scientific research on marijuana’s health impacts doesn’t consider the high-potency products now available in Colorado, according to a new state report that reviewed available studies and data.

Smart Colorado has highlighted the unprecedented levels of THC, marijuana’s psychoactive ingredient, in products sold in Colorado today and we urged the state’s Retail Marijuana Public Health Advisory Committee to make note of that.

“There are diverse products now available in Colorado, many of which are likely higher in potency than the marijuana used by study subjects for much of the literature reviewed,” according to the committee’s second comprehensive review of the scientific research on the health effects of marijuana use.

Dabbing, a way to smoke ultra-high potency marijuana, has been tied to deaths in Colorado.

According to its public statement, the committee’s findings also include:

  • About 6 percent of pregnant women choose to use marijuana while pregnant. This percentage is higher among those with unintended pregnancies as well as younger mothers or those with less education. Using marijuana during pregnancy is associated with negative effects on exposed children, including decreased cognitive function and ability to maintain attention on task. Effects may not appear until adolescence.
  • At least 14,000 children in Colorado are at risk of accidentally eating marijuana products that are not safely stored, and at least 16,000 are at risk of being exposed to secondhand marijuana smoke in the home. The committee found strong evidence such accidental exposures can lead to significant clinical effects that, in some cases, require hospitalization.
  • More than 5 percent of high school students use marijuana daily or nearly daily. This has been the case since at least 2005. The report finds weekly marijuana use by adolescents is associated with impaired learning, memory, math and reading, for as long as 28 days after last use. Weekly use also is associated with failure to graduate from high school. In addition, adolescent marijuana users are more likely to develop cannabis use disorder or be addicted to alcohol, tobacco or illicit drugs in adulthood.

Smart Colorado makes impact at state capitol

When the legislature is in session, Smart Colorado is hard at work to support policies that limit harms to children from marijuana.

Already our work has had an impact this year. Senate Bill 25 authorizes the creation and maintenance of a marijuana educational resource bank for public schools to use free of charge.

This will give all Colorado schools free access to up-to-date marijuana educational materials and  comprehensive curricula, an important resource many schools are eager to have.

New Spanish-language parent resource available

Smart Colorado’s Tips for Parents fact sheet, which has been widely distributed, is now available in Spanish.  It’s on our website’s Fact Sheets/Handouts section, where you can also find other important fact sheets providing key information about today’s marijuana and how to best protect youth in our state.

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