GUEST COLUMN: Heeding the alarms about legal marijuana and childrenPosted by On

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Eight years after recreational marijuana was legalized in Colorado, the data show kids pay consequences when adults approve a commercialized marijuana market.

Official state data released on Aug. 3 report an alarming increase in teen use of ultrapotent pot products in the form of dabs and vapes.

More than half of students who use marijuana reported that they dab marijuana to get high. Among students who reported using marijuana in the past 30 days, 52% dabbed it, up from 34.4% — a 50% increase, according to the latest biannual Healthy Kids Colorado Survey of over 46,000 high school students.

“Dabbing” is a method of inhaling concentrated THC, the main high-inducing chemical in marijuana. (Go to our website to see what concentrated THC in hash oil and shatter looks like.)

The survey also showed a 69% increase in students vaping marijuana between 2017 and 2019. Denver, the epicenter of commercialization in Colorado, likewise experienced dramatic increases in youth dabbing and vaping.

Unbelievably, youth are dabbing and vaping concentrated THC at almost three times the rate of Colorado adults, despite it being illegal for anyone under 21 years of age to use nonmedical marijuana.

The dabbing numbers equate to 10.7% of the overall high school population. This outpaces the 3.7% of adults 18 and older who dabbed THC concentrates, in 2017 and 2018, according to the official Colorado Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance System.

The same holds for vaping marijuana: Over 7% of high school students vape compared to only 4.8% of adults.

Clearly the marketing for these easily concealed high-THC products that has bombarded our kids for years is having its intended effects.

These numbers are a tragedy unfolding before the eyes of the nation, once you understand the nature of dabbing, which has been compared to freebasing THC.

This is not a puff from a joint. Colorado and other legal states do not sell the relatively mild marijuana plant you might remember from your youth.

A mere speck of concentrate can get someone high. Some concentrates can exceed 90% THC as documented in an official Colorado report and are made possible by lax regulation.

In the early 1990s, average THC content in confiscated marijuana samples was less than 4%. But labs really got cooking after legalization. Marijuana potency increases have accelerated in the past decade as marijuana commercialization expanded and a variety of products proliferated, from powders to candies to drinks.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment just completed an analysis of the health effects of THC concentration in Colorado’s legal market that warned that “it…

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