Lack of Knowledge About Long Term Marijuana Effects Causing Problems in Colorado

Imagine, if you will, a controversial new product that has just come on the market and is being marketed to your kids. It’s so controversial, that the government has not commissioned any studies as to its safety and the general public doesn’t know many facts about it, only half truths, rumors, and misinformation. No one can really say for sure what the long term affects of this product coming on the market will be. Despite all of this, it’s out there and it’s being bought and sold by our kids.

Of course, this not-so-veiled comparison is a reference to the recent marijuana legalization in Colorado and Washington State. This was the topic of a very informative presentation given by Katheryne Marinchak of Trinity College in Millburn, NJ and hosted by the Millburn Municipal Alliance.

In New Jersey, the discussion of passing the same sort of legislation is being discussed. As we’ve mentioned before, the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey does not take a stance on legislation. Our concern is how legalization will effect the health and safety of our children. As we are seeing in Colorado, it certainly is posing a threat. According to the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug-Trafficking Area, there has been an astonishing 268% increase in accidental THC exposure in children from 2010-2013. Why is this happening? Are children accidentally smoking marijuana? No, they are ingesting edible marijuana candies and treats sold in Colorado. Are you still wondering if there are risks to legalization?

Colorado is also seeing an uptick in THC concentrations in their marijuana product. It is no secret that marijuana potency has increased over the years, with some products reaching 15% in THC concentration. In Colorado, some products being sold have a potency of 80%. There is no science or studies that can predict what can happen when that kind of potency is used and abused.

The bottom line is that when it comes to marijuana legalization, we simply don’t know enough about what the long term effects will be. However, a recent study conducted by Dr. Madeline Meier of Duke University found that marijuana users who used the drug weekly before the age of 18 experienced a drop in IQ of up to 8 points, as well as other cognitive functions, by the time they reached 38. 

The answer to this issue always remains the same. Speak to your children early and often about your feelings on marijuana use and other drug use. Our annual Parent Tracking Survery confirms year after year that parent perception of drug use has a drastic effect on whether or not a child will decide to try a substance. Be the example and the strong influence your kids are looking for and it won’t matter if marijuana is legalized or not. Keep your children safe and most importantly healthy and drug-free.

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