Unintended consequences of THC continue

April 6th, 2023

Dear Champion,

Results of Important Data Collection & High-Impact Outcomes from Colorado HB 21-1317

One Chance is constantly monitoring for unintended consequences of THC on kids.  HB21-1317 mandated the collecting and annual reporting of data on recommending physicians, toxicology screenings for non-natural deaths among those under 25, marijuana-related emergency department visits and hospitalizations, as well as a systematic review of research on the health effects of marijuana concentrates and high-potency THC. Please find highlights from these recent reports:

The Colorado Medical Marijuana Registry Annual Legislative Report indicates that many providers in Colorado have built their entire practice around recommending marijuana. While there are many responsible physicians cautiously recommending medical marijuana to their patients, One Chance is very concerned that these statistics resemble the opiate pill mills of the early 2000s.

  • 55% percent of all medical marijuana recommendations written in Colorado last year were by 10 providers. 
  • Just three providers (1% of all providers) were responsible for over 25% of ALL marijuana recommendations in 2022 equating to writing a medical marijuana recommendation every 20 minutes during regular business hours!

The report on the Postmortem toxicological presence of marijuana among Colorado residents younger than 25 years concluded:

  • Marijuana is the #1 substance found in non-natural, non-homicide deaths of those under 25 at 29.2% overall and 26.7% of suicides, during the reporting period 2010-2022 
  • Decedents aged 18-20 were more likely to test positive for marijuana than to have no substance present
  • During the period of the report, the percentage of deaths with marijuana present increased over three-fold: 12.2% in 2010 to 41.4% in 2021

Identifying cannabis-attributed health outcomes in Colorado Report shows that patients aged 13-17 had the highest discharge rate due to marijuana of any age group from both emergency departments and hospitals, based on diagnostic codes including cannabis poisoning and cannabis abuse, dependence, or intoxication.

Final recommendations from the Scientific Review Council and the Colorado School of Public Health have yet to be released to the General Assembly.  We will keep you posted on any new developments.

Hemp-derived Psychoactive THC Challenges

Intoxicating hemp-derived products are currently being sold and marketed as ingestible, inhalable “hemp” and “CBD” consumer products across the country and online. There is no federal age limit to purchase these products and can often be bought at gas stations and are not required to meet any safety or product standards. This is a concerning regulatory gap that urgently needs to be addressed and poses serious health risks per the FDA.

Where permitted, they are sold in vape cartridges, edibles, concentrates, and tinctures that often come in kid-friendly forms.  There have already been dramatic increases in adverse effects reported by the FDA and a recent SAMHSA Advisory outlines some of the current challenges and why urgent action is needed.

While federal action may be forthcoming as the 2018 Farm Bill is up for renewal by Congress, states should not wait to address these issues to protect their citizens. (See Florida and Virginia’s current legislation)

Thanks to all of you, including our community partner organizations across the country, that took action on our recent action alert providing feedback on hemp–your input is having an impact!

 One Chance goes to Washington! 

Members of the One Chance team spent a week in Washington D.C., educating policymakers on our 2023 priorities and opportunities. We met with over 20 key committee staff and congressional members and shared the importance of:

  • Securing clarifying definition of hemp in the 2023 Farm Bill to address the explosion of unintended intoxicating (psychoactive) “hemp” products 
  • SAFE Banking Act, if passed, must include youth safeguards and THC transparency 
  • Advancing a standalone bill on THC transparency and youth safeguards

 One Chance’s New Blog

Please take a moment to read Jude’s perspective, one of One Chance’s youth council members, as he shares his narrative on marijuana culture in high school. We are so thankful for Jude, his guest blog contribution, and for sharing his experience.

Spring is here… 

…and that means proms, graduations, year-end celebrations, and parties for teens. These upcoming festivities provide an excellent opportunity for you to initiate a marijuana conversation with the teens you care about. Research shows anger and scare tactics don’t work, but a calm discussion will be more productive. Remember, you are a strong influence, and what you say matters. Find talking points and additional resources HERE — please talk with your teens and share this resource with your community!

Thank you for your continued and needed support and please share our resources widely with your networks!  We will continue to update you with the most current information and science and please follow One Chance on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram for THC news, research, and resources. 

Grateful to you,

Your One Chance Team

P.S. Look for our Spanish language campaign coming later this month!  Due to the ongoing need for educational resources in Spanish and the huge success of One Chance’s public awareness campaign last fall, we will be sharing our tool kit, logo, MFZ, and awareness campaign in Spanish in the next few weeks.