CONTACT Medical marijuana users "sharing" with kids - Dr. Christian Thurstone

Take a look at this paper in Drug and Alcohol Dependence, explaining research I conducted to examine how so-called “medical” marijuana is having an impact on kids in substance abuse treatment at the clinic I direct in Denver.

Among the take-away points:

  • Medical marijuana license holders in Colorado are giving, selling and in other ways diverting their weed to kids. Given that marijuana today is up to 10 times more potent than the marijuana used in the 1960s and that THC levels in medical strains of marijuana can top 35 percent, this is especially bad news for people in crucial stages of brain growth and development.
  • Because of the rise of medical marijuana, kids mistakenly think this addictive substance is no big deal. They call it “medicine” just like their weed-using family members and friends. This study found that teens who reported ever getting marijuana from someone with a medical marijuana license, compared to those who did not, reported significantly greater availability of marijuana, less peer disapproval of regular marijuana use, more frequent marijuana use, more substance use problems and more overall problems.

About Chris Thurstone

Dr. Christian Thurstone is one of only a few dozen physicians in the United States who are board-certified in general, child and adolescent and addictions psychiatry. He is Director of Behavioral Health Services at Denver Health and a professor of psychiatry at the University of Colorado, where he conducts research on youth substance use and addiction and serves as director of medical training for the university’s addiction psychiatry fellowship program. You can read more about him here.

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