Readers Write: Cannabis risky for teens with new high THC concentrates

William "Bo" Huhn

William "Bo" Huhn

Contributed photo

Thanks to the legislation in Hartford, Guilford and the rest of Connecticut now live in the era of commercialized marijuana.

Do you know what “shatter,” “wax,” “dab products” and “highly potent THC vaping products” are? Most Guilford parents and kids are not aware of the health risks of marijuana use by teens, especially the new high THC concentrates.

The cannabis industry denies its products pose a risk. The new profiteers portray their product as a benign plant, harmless “recreation.” In fact, they sell highly processed psychoactive chemicals, far more dangerous than the marijuana with 0.5 percent — 10 percent THC content sold by the cartels in the past.

Connecticut’s new law explicitly allows up to 30 percent THC concentration for cannabis flower and plant material and up to 60 percent THC potency in concentrated products. And the law excludes any limits for prefilled cartridges for use in vaping systems. One has to wonder if the industry wrote Connecticut’s potency limits as a joke. Of course, the concentrated products are increasingly popular among youth.

Last year in Colorado high THC concentrates comprised more than 50 percent of the industry sales. What are the health risks? The higher the THC, the higher the potential for addiction, psychosis, schizophrenia, demotivation, memory impacts and other damage to the brain, particularly for kids.

The industry doesn’t mention that the four key factors causing severe cannabis use disorder are: (1) age when use begins, due to the still developing brain in adolescents, (2) the THC potency of the product consumed, (3) frequency of use, and (4) genetics.

Don’t take our word about the health threats for teens. Guilford DAY has compiled links to scientific information on the risks of cannabis for kids, and we posted the links on our website- itsworthitguilford.org.

For example, the six page U.S. Surgeon General Advisory: Marijuana Use and the Developing Brain. “Frequent marijuana use during adolescence is associated with changes in the areas of the brain involved in attention, memory, decision-making, and motivation. Chronic use is linked to declines in IQ, school performance that jeopardizes professional and social achievements, and life satisfaction. Marijuana use is also linked to risk for and early onset of psychotic disorders, such as schizophrenia. The risk for psychotic disorders increases with frequency of use, potency of the marijuana product, and as the age at first use decreases

“Marijuana’s increasingly widespread availability in multiple and highly potent forms. coupled with a false and dangerous perception of safety among youth, merits a nationwide call to action.”

Do I believe that parents alone will be able to protect their children from the dangers? I do not. The entire Guilford community is deeply involved in the COVID fight, and we need a comparable effort to address the risks of marijuana for our kids.

William “Bo” Huhn is a member of Guilford DAY, and a grandfather who for 20 years has volunteered to protect youth from substance abuse.