Youth are the future of all nations, and creating happy and healthy environments for young people is a focus for governments around the world, especially in the era of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Unfortunately with cannabis legalization spreading across the United States (U.S.) cannabis is found to be increasingly harming American youth. The high THC concentration commercial cannabis products created and marketed by the emerging Big Marijuana industry has led to high addiction rates among young people.
Cannabis products hooking teens
A new study published in JAMA Pediatrics analyzed data collected by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services over a three-year span between 2015 to 2018. The researchers found:
- A year after trying cannabis, 10.7% teens between 12 to 17 years were addicted to the substance. In the same age group, 11.2% of those who tried prescription opioids got addicted. This shows the cannabis and opioid addictiveness rate is very similar.
- The addiction rate for cannabis is higher than that for tobacco and alcohol.
- The addiction potential of cannabis reduced with age. Among 18 to 25 year olds, after one year 6.5% were addicted to the substance.
It’s well known that the earlier age of substance use, the higher association there is of having a lifelong dependency,” said Dr. Jennifer Chuang, Pediatrician, section chief for Adolescent Medicine and the associate program director for the Pediatrics Residency Program at St. Joseph’s University Medical Center, Paterson, as per NJ.com.
These numbers certainly back that up.”Dr. Jennifer Chuang, Pediatrician, section chief for Adolescent Medicine, associate program director for the Pediatrics Residency Program at St. Joseph’s University Medical Center, Paterson
Teenagers get addicted to substances faster because their brains specifically the amygdala – the emotional and memory center – is developing into the mid-20s.
Using tobacco, marijuana or any other drug at a young age primes the receptors in the brain to expect that substance will keep coming,” said Dr. David Nathan, a psychiatrist and board president for Doctors for Cannabis Regulation, as per NJ.com.Dr. David Nathan, psychiatrist, board president for Doctors for Cannabis Regulation
The findings contradict widely held perceptions that cannabis isn’t particularly addictive and may attract attention amid a broad U.S. push to liberalize its use,” said Dr. Nora Volkow, Author of the JAMA Pediatrics study, as per Legal Reader.
The rates of addiction were significant, especially since teenagers’ brains are still developing. One in 10 teens having a marijuana addiction — that’s huge. Using cannabis also gives them a higher chance of becoming addicted to other drugs later.”Dr. Nora Volkow, Author of the JAMA Pediatrics study
The real harm of cannabis has been documented in previous research studies as reported by Movendi International.
Cannabis smoke pollute air
Another study published in the journal Atmospheric Environment: X found cannabis smoke pollutes the air heavily. The findings show,
- Atmospheric particulate matter concentration and emissions were highest with cannabis joints compared to other cannabis sources.
- The average emission rate of 24 joints was 3.5 times higher than the average emission rate of Marlboro cigarettes (2.2 mg/min).
- The average emission rate of the cannabis bong was 67% that of the joint, the glass pipe’s emission rate was 54% that of the joint, and the vaping pen’s emission rate was 44% that of the joint.
Today’s cannabis industry: “A commercialized, for-profit, elitist, government-protected, privileged, monopolistic industry”
The perverse strategies with which the Big Marijuana industry now preys on youth for profit maximization is brought into sharp focus by sentiments from a previously pro-legalization lobbyist.
Robert Corry is a University of Colorado graduate and Stanford-trained lawyer. He helped draft Amendment 64 on Colorado’s 2012 statewide ballot – permitting production and retail sales of recreational cannabis. He also designed and implemented the dispensary framework for patients and caregivers under Amendment 20. Nearly a decade since his lobby campaign for legalization he says he is utterly disappointed by the current state of legalization.
I wish I could be proud of what we created, but I’m not. The outcome of 64 is shameful, hurts people, and Colorado is not “safer,” said Robert Corry, as per The Gazette.Robert Corry, previous pro-cannabis legalization lobbyist
He calls the current cannabis industry a commercialized, for-profit, elitist, government-protected, privileged, monopolistic industry that perpetuates itself and its obscene profits, to the detriment of the public good and the planet earth.
According to Corry, cannabis is controlled by an oligopoly of few big players who are given government licenses. Prices are fixed in the system and obtaining new licenses are almost impossible, this has effectively wiped out competition. The quality of the cannabis products are also very low and harmful.
A report by Smart Approaches to Marijuana had found that marijuana plant potency in the U.S. increased from 8.9% in 2008 to 17.1% in 2017. Meanwhile concentrate potency increased from 6.7% in 2008 to 55.7% in 2017.
Corry confirms this fact.
The commercial marijuana products are genetically engineered to make people specifically youth addicted.
These plants are grown indoors, with pesticides and other cancer causing chemicals which pollutes the water and is ultimately consumed by people.
Currently there is a bill in the state of Colorado proposed by Rep. Yadira Caraveo who is a pedatrician. The bill aims to regulate the THC level in recreational marijuana/cannabis products. The cannabis industry is fighting aggressively against the bill.
According to Corry the industry is built on shaky foundations. Despite state licensing, legalization is against federal law. Which means the entire industry can be undone within legalized states such as Colorado and across the nation, if investigations are done into the illegal, harmful practices of the cannabis industry.
Legal Reader: “Cannabis Almost As Addictive as Opioids, JAMA Study Finds“
The Gazette: “A founding father of legal pot reveals regrets“