Marijuana use has skyrocketed in our country as the perception of harm has plummeted. The marijuana industry, just like Big Tobacco years ago, continues to glorify marijuana as a cure-all substance whose benefits outweigh the few, if any, risks.
While this transpires, the latest innovation of the industry – marijuana vapes – have turned fatal, with over 2,000 cases of illness and more than 40 deaths and counting.
Furthermore, if it were not for marijuana, overall drug use in the country would be on the decline. In fact, marijuana is increasingly replacing alcohol and tobacco as the “first use” drug of teens. Because or in large part due to rising potency and use intensity, mental health issues are rising, more people are dying due to marijuana-impaired drivers, and positivity rates among the workforce are up.
Today’s marijuana is far removed from the 5% THC potency of Woodstock weed, or even the 9-10% pot of the 90’s. Since the creation of a commercialized marijuana market, the average potency of a typical marijuana flower product went from 11.5% in 2014 to 20.5% in 2016. This does not even address the alarming trends of high potency products seen with concentrates, edibles, and vaping oils; these products can reach up to 99% THC.
Consuming high potency THC products has been identified as a risk factor for severe outcomes; both acute and chronic. A 2016 study found that the use of “wax dabs” (high potency concentrates) was linked to cannabis-induced psychosis among individuals with no psychiatric history.
The marijuana industry is going all-in for the states in which it is working to legalize. Accordingly, it is crucial that prevention, treatment, law enforcement, and other public health and safety workers are aware of the current state of play.
The annual SAM Summit, being held this year in Atlanta, Georgia alongside the Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit, is the perfect option for interested and concerned parties to learn more about what the current research says about the negative effects of marijuana normalization on public health and safety.
To learn more about the state of play when it comes to marijuana science, education, and policy, learn from the experts on what the data are showing, and hear more about how you can get involved, register for the 2022 SAM Summit today!