According to a new study, nearly 24% of Arizona teens have used concentrates of cannabis, containing high levels of psychoactive components.
Authors of the “Cannabis Concentrate Use in Adolescents” mention that the biggest concern is the high rates of concentrate use in teenage which is quite alarming, because evidence suggests that exposure to high levels of THC (tetrahydro cannabinoid), the psychoactive compound in cannabis could increase the risk of cognitive impairment, psychosis and cannabis addiction.
Marijuana consists of both, psychoactive and non-psychoactive compounds. THC is a psychoactive compound which is responsible for causing hallucinations and giving the users a feeling of euphoria or ‘high’ when they smoke pot or weed. Excessive dosage of THC consumed over a long time in high potency can lead to permanent mental disorders or create addiction problems which comes with a baggage of withdrawal symptoms.
Contrary to THC, CBD is a non-psychoactive compound which had garnered the trust of many people worldwide for its various medical benefits. It is known to reduce anxiety, insomnia, depression, stress and even seizures in epilepsy. The United States Food and Drug Administration has even legalized Epidiolex, a CBD based medicine for the treatment of two rare and severe forms of epilepsy mostly found in children.
However, the agency still stands firm on its decision to prohibit CBD infusion in food and other edible supplements as there needs to be a proper regulated mandate which keeps the levels of psychoactive compounds in consumer products to a certain restricted amount. According to the federal law, the maximum limit for THC concentration per unit is 0.3%.
Hemp-derived CBD was legalized in December 2018, under the Farm Bill by the federal government. Since then, the CBD industry has been booming and has created space for a billion dollar industry in the coming years. Ranging from topicals, creams, oils, ointments, facemasks, facerub to coffee, tea, chocolates, gummies etc, CBD has sprawled across various consumer goods.
In an attempt to grab consumer attention, brands have started leveraging the medical claims made by CBD and began promoting their CBD based products with high promises of permanent cure to severe diseases such as cancer!
Although patients have reported a significant improvement in their health after consuming CBD, but scientists and researchers are yet to determine its safe limits and long term effects.
Marijuana has a THC concentration of nearly 12% to 20%, says a study. Cannabis concentrates can average to about 39% to 69% and can reach up to 80%.
Researchers from Arizona State University began their conquest to discover how many teens use cannabis concentrates, with the survey data of 47,142 students studying in the eighth, tenth and twelfth grades in Arizona, where medical cannabis is legal. Students were questioned about their use of marijuana, its concentrates and other substances that fall under the category of cannabis concentrates, and also school and personal life factors which could possibly put them at the risk of substance use.
About 33% of the students had used marijuana and 24% also had used cannabis concentrates, suggested the study. Among cannabis users, around 72% of the students had used concentrates. Girls were found to be more likely to try each of the substances as compared to others.
The team also discovered that cannabis concentrate users were susceptible of trying other substances. About 82% of students had used e-cigarettes, which some might even be using to vaporize cannabis. These revelations come amidst reports of 193 cases registered for severe pulmonary illness spread across 22 states in people who had vaped, many of whom had used substances like THC or consumed products which contained traces of THC.
The study also revealed that teens who used concentrates were at a higher risk for substance use by peers and family members.
The discovery also suggested a proper limit for the concentration of THC in consumer products, especially in those goods that are likely to have a young consumer base.
Sheryl Ryan, M.D. FAAP, ex-chair of the AAP Committee on Substance Use and Prevention, wrote in a commentary that with the increased use of concentrates, the concerns over safety and health also increases.
Dr. Ryan wrote that these trends argue for strengthened and improved efforts to provide better education and prevention of ailments or addiction regarding the use of both cannabis and e-cigarettes or vaporizers. Increased efforts should be made to regulate THC concentrates and the various methods that teens are using these days to vape nicotine, marijuana and other flavorings. The minimum mandatory age for purchasing all kinds of e-cigarettes should be 21 years and marketing of any form for substance use targeted towards adolescents should be clearly warranted.