A 2018 biennial survey given to secondary school students in Arizona shows that one third of students in that age range have tried some form of marijuana, and that close to 24% have tried marijuana concentrate.
Marijuana concentrate has roughly three times more THC than a traditional marijuana flower, causing a stronger reaction in the body, with THC being the part of the drug associated with the “high”. Recent studies have shown that higher dosages of THC can be harmful, as these higher dosages are linked to addiction of the drug, as well as psychosis or cognitive impairment.
Madeline Meier, an assistant professor of psychology and lead researcher on the study "Cannabis Concentrate Use in Adolescents," published in the early online edition (Aug. 26, 2019) of Pediatrics, reported that her team compared teens who used concentrates, teens who used other forms of marijuana, and teens that had never used any form or marijuana. They found that teens who had used concentrates were at a higher risk for all of the addiction risk factors -- peer substance use, parental substance use, academic failure and greater perceived availability of drugs in the community.
"This is important because it shows that teens who have a diverse array of risk factors for developing marijuana addiction may be further amplifying their risk for addiction by using high-THC marijuana concentrates," explains Dustin Pardini, study co-author and associate professor in the School of Criminology & Criminal Justice at ASU.
Further, the study found that teens using concentrates are at higher risk of using e-cigarettes, reinforcing recent restrictions by the Food and Drug Administration on e-cigarettes and their constituents in hopes of reducing marijuana use.
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Meier's earlier research also suggests that frequent use of the drug in adolescence is associated with IQ decline.
Research is only just beginning in the area of marijuana and the effects it has on the development of our youth, as well as their trajectory. This study is one of many showing that this drug could have ramifications for users.