There have been several concerns about marijuana regulation and its impact on youth since Amendment 64 was passed in November. Since then, several stories have emerged about marijuana ending up in schools where kids and young adults were exposed to pot brownies.
In a Colorado Springs middle school, a 14-year-old student was hospitalized after she consumed a pot brownie. The student who gave it to her got it from adults off campus and was arrested for distribution. Nanette Anderson, a representative with the school district said this was the first time she had seen an incident like this. She asserted that the school will follow the same school policies regarding illegal substances and that Colorado’s new marijuana law does not change her school’s position.
Although the student who was hospitalized knowingly consumed the pot-laced brownie, cases are arising where people are unknowingly consuming marijuana from students offering brownies as a prank. Two students at the University of Colorado in Boulder were also arrested for giving their professor and two other students a pot laced brownie without their knowledge. Both the professor and students were hospitalized from the effects of the THC – which likely included panic from having been drugged unknowingly.
Authorities speculate that these cases are just a micro-indicator of what will occur without tough marijuana regulation throughout the state. The concern is mainly for children, teens, and young adults as Sgt. Jim Gerhardt with the North Metro Drug Task Force stated, “We’ve seen children infant age that have been getting into this stuff and hospitalized, and this has been under medical marijuana. I can’t imagine how bad it’s going to get with full blown legalization.”
Addiction treatment centers in Colorado are also expecting a rise in the number of admissions they see for marijuana dependence because it is already one of the most common addictions seen among teens and young adults. And the volume of youth addicted to marijuana may grow because they may be more likely to try drugs that come in innocent forms such as brownies and cookies, then say, needles or pipes. Treatment for marijuana dependence at an early age is crucial because using substances early on increases the incidence of addiction and dependence later on in life.
Drug treatment for young adults and teens is also vital because the brain isn’t fully developed until the age of 25. A recent article published by Medical Express showed that use of drugs and alcohol before the brain is fully developed could have lasting detrimental effects. The article revealed that functional signs of brain damage from abuse include “visual, learning, memory and executive function impairments. These functions are controlled by the hippocampus and frontal structures of the brain, which are not fully mature until around 25 years of age.”
If you are concerned for a loved with a with marijuana dependence, Harmony Foundation’s reputable Colorado drug rehab has addiction programs for young adults and adults that help them become free of marijuana addiction and dependence.