As the popularity of cannabis continues to rise globally, it becomes increasingly important to address responsible use, especially among adolescents. At California Gold, we prioritize transparency and responsible consumption. While our products are exclusively for adults (must be 18 to access our site), we understand the need to educate and guide the younger demographic about the potential impacts of cannabis use during adolescence.
Cannabis comprises various components, with two main players being cannabidiol (CBD) and delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is responsible for the psychoactive effects of cannabis, while CBD offers a less psychoactive and more therapeutic experience. It's crucial to be aware of these distinctions when considering cannabis use, particularly for adolescents.
Recent trends indicate a significant increase in the potency of cannabis globally. The average THC concentration in illegal cannabis seized by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in the US rose from 10% in 2009 to 14% in 2019. Adolescents are now exposed to higher-potency products, such as concentrates and edibles, which may carry additional risks.
The adolescent brain is still developing, and cannabis use during this crucial period can have adverse effects. Chronic use has been linked to anxiety, depression, psychotic symptoms, and impaired cognitive function. High-potency cannabis products pose a higher risk, potentially leading to an early onset of cannabis use disorder symptoms.
Clinical screening tools, like CRAFT and S2BI, are essential for identifying cannabis use among adolescents. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) approach. Clinicians must assess the form of cannabis used, its potency, frequency, context, motives, and intensity to tailor interventions effectively.
The ideal approach for adolescents using high-potency cannabis is abstinence, given the associated risks. However, clinicians should consider harm reduction strategies for those not ready to abstain. Motivational interviewing can help understand the context, implement behavior modification, and build a connection. Discussing the CBD: THC ratio, reviewing product labeling, and advising against driving after cannabis use are vital harm reduction measures.
Parents play a crucial role in harm reduction and cessation efforts. Open communication, understanding, and support are key. In cases where safety concerns arise, clinicians may disclose safety planning details to parents, emphasizing the benefits of such disclosure. Here are a few additional resources you may find helpful: ChildHub.org, Here to Help, Talking to Youth About Marijuana: Tips for Parents.
While medical cannabis has proven benefits in specific medical conditions, its use among adolescents remains controversial. Research on the usefulness of medical cannabis in a pediatric setting is ongoing. It's essential to highlight that the negative health impacts of high-potency cannabis use persist, regardless of its source.
In conclusion, responsible cannabis use is a shared responsibility. Adolescents must be equipped with knowledge about the potential risks, and clinicians, parents, and educators play pivotal roles in guiding them toward informed choices. At California Gold, we advocate for responsible, adult use, emphasizing the importance of age-appropriate decisions and informed consumption.