Plenty of ‘medical’ marijuana diverted to kids

Jun 30, 12 Plenty of ‘medical’ marijuana diverted to kids

My young patients have reported for quite some time that they’ve used someone else’s medical marijuana.

So, colleagues and I wanted to know just how prevalent the diversion of medical marijuana to adolescents in substance-abuse treatment  is. Our peer-reviewed findings are published in the July 2012 edition of the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, and they were presented during the recent annual meeting of the College on Problems of Drug Dependence.

This study surveyed 164 Denver-area teens in treatment, and 121 of them — or nearly 74 percent — said they had used someone else’s medical marijuana. The average number of times they had done so? 50 times. 

We also found that after adjusting for gender and race/ethnicity, teenage patients who used medical marijuana had more symptoms of marijuana dependence and conduct disorders than those who did not use medical marijuana.

I also found it interesting that these youth were more likely to be Latino. At this time, I only can speculate that this especially vulnerable minority population is specifically targeted by medical marijuana dealers.

Where, exactly, did the young patients get their marijuana? We have our suspicions, but we can’t report anything definitive. Directly asking youth where they scored their weed opens new concerns that must be examined by the Institutional Review Board, which assesses the ethics of medical research. However, this is an important study that should be conducted as soon as possible.

I continue to maintain this position: Colorado has done a poor job of regulating its medical-marijuana market, and its youth are paying a steep price. Legalizing the drug for recreational use would compound already very serious health problems for this state’s young people.

My thanks to the expert Colorado researchers who co-authored this study: Stacy Salomonsen-Sautel, Ph.D; Joseph T. Sakai, M.D.; Robin Corley, Ph.D.; and Christian Hopfer, M.D.

 

1 Comment

  1. Ah, yes. Check out this “ping-back” — a link from this blog post to another website. In this case, the site is Roots2Resin, essentially a blog devoted to driving marijuana sales by encouraging all of us to become a “Cannabis Connisure” (as opposed to a “Connoisseur,” but I digress). And check out the rewrite on this article’s first sentences: “My immature patients have reported for utterly a little time which they’ve used someone else’s healing pot. So, colleagues as well as we longed for to know only how prevalent a diversion of healing pot to teenagers in substance-abuse …”
    When you’re pushing pot, why not break the rules of grammar and spelling, too?

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