Marijuana Edibles have become much more prevalent since some States in the USA havelegalised marijuana for recreational use. The results of this misguided legislation have been shocking in Colorado and Washington.
Since the full implementation of Amendment 64 in 2014, when retail marijuana businesses began operating, adult use of marijuana has grown 104% higher than the national average. Colorado rates were 51% higher than the national rates in 2011-2012. Marijuana-related traffic deaths increased by 92% between 2010 – 2014 compared to an 8% increase in all traffic deaths during the same period. Marijuana-related emergency room visits in 2014 increased 29% while hospitalization increased 38%. Marijuana is second only to alcohol as the most cited reason for admission into a substance use disorder (SUD) treatment facility.
Youth (ages 12 – 17) usage of marijuana in 2013-2014 increased 20% compared to 2011-2012 before legalization of recreational use. Since legalization, youth usage in Colorado has grown approximately 74% higher than the national average. There has also been an 8 fold increase in reported marijuana exposures for children under the age of 12 years old. Those exposure rates have tripled for children 0 – 5 years old since 2010. College age adults (18 – 25 years old) in Colorado are also using marijuana at higher rates relative to the national average, 62% and 42% respectively.
Washington and Colorado appear to have some overlapping trends as a result of legalization of recreational marijuana. Vehicular fatalities for example are some of those factors. Since 2008, nearly 157 people have been killed due to impaired driving. The number of motorists who tested positive for tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active chemical in marijuana increased from 65% in 2013 to 85% in 2014. This contributed to the 48% rise in deadly crashes during that time.
Like Colorado, the number of young people under the age of 18 years old using the drug has grown as well. Ease of access for youth 17 years of age and younger has increased with every grade level. The ease of access to marijuana with each grade level correlates with the growth of usage rates. Marijuana usage rates for 6th graders are relatively low (1%) and grow every year through 12th grade (27%). Marijuana incidents at primary and secondary schools increased by approximately 75% between 2012 – 2013. While youth usage rates, specifically for marijuana, have increased by an average of approximately 3% every year since 2007, state funded substance use disorder (SUD) treatment rates for all other drugs have decreased.
The Washington State Poison and Drug Information Center tracks trends of all reported state poisonings, including for marijuana. In 2015, 272 cases of marijuana exposure were reported with 46% of those cases being paediatric. This approximately equates to a 54% increase since 2011. Regardless of age, 77% of reported poisonings occurred in private residences. These rates were at a 16 year low in 2006 and have steadily increased since that time.
The production and sale of edibles have clearly been targeted at the youth market. Very few adults would want to be seen buying and chewing, for example, gummy bears. These products are marketed to look like genuine items and could easily be mistaken at first glance for things you might buy at your local grocery store. Currently there are few ‘headshops’ in the UK – but many items can be purchased online.
The biggest problem with marijuana edibles is the fact that they can, and have, caused deaths.
A bar of marijuana infused chocolate states on the packaging in small letters that a ‘dose’ is one square; however the results of eating one square take longer for the expected results to be noticed – and inexperienced users may then take another – and another piece. Deaths have
The use of marijuana (known as cannabis in the UK) results in addiction for many users and of health and social problems. The younger an individual is when they begin to use drugs the more likely they are to become dependent on the substance. Thus if ‘Big Marijuana Business’ can sell their goods to young people by marketing strategies specifically designed to attract this population, the more they are building their future customer