Local nonprofit dedicated to protecting kids shares research on marijuana use in teens

One Chance to Grow Up is a local 501(c)(3) nonprofit project of the Colorado Nonprofit Development Center whose mission is “to protect kids from today’s marijuana through transparency, education, empowerment and policy.” 

In a press release on August 24, One Chance shared findings from the 2021 Healthy Kids Colorado Survey (HKCS) recently conducted the by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. HKCS is a voluntary survey about marijuana use that is provided to Colorado middle and high school students every two years. Results are posted by CDPHE on length of use, frequency of use, and type of marijuana product. Demographic and geographic data is also compiled and available to the public. 

Key takeaways, all positive, from the 2021 survey were: 

  • 13.3% of youth used marijuana within the past month – a decrease from 20.6% in 2019
  • 40.3% of youth feel it would be easy to get marijuana if they wanted – a decrease from 51.4% from 2019
  • 60.4% of youth think regular marijuana use is risky – an increase from 50.1% in 2019

One Chance pointed to the incorrect perception by many young people that their peers use marijuana more than they actually do. Data gathered from the survey showed that:

16.7% of middle school students think half of their class used marijuana in the last 30 days. In fact, only 3.0% responded that they used the drug in the last 30 days.

39.5% of high school students think half of their class used marijuana in the last 30 days. In fact, only 13.3% responded that they used the drug in the last 30 days.

Much of the news from the survey was good, given the well-reported deleterious impacts of marijuana use at a young age, including declining IQ, worsened academic performance, and developing a dependence on the drug. The area of the survey that concerned dabbing concentrated marijuana produced more concerning data. According to One Chance, “Dabbing concentrates can have potency exceeding 80% THC. The higher the THC concentration the more likely the adolescent will develop a marijuana use disorder, cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome or THC-induced psychosis.” 

The data revealed:

  • 49.2% of High School marijuana users dabbed at least once in the last 30 days.  
  • 39.5% of Middle School marijuana users dabbed at least once in the last 30 days. 

To try to prevent their underage children from using marijuana, One Chance advises parents to pay particular attention to the impact of transitions in their children’s lives, including family and/or school changes. Transitions that may seem less challenging for adults are often more traumatic for children and teens and can lead to experimentation with drugs, including nicotine and alcohol.

For additional information on this subject from our state government, contact marijuanainfo@state.co.us. You can also view the complete results of the 2021 HKCS there.

For more information on the work being done by One Chance to Grow Up, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit founded by Doug Robinson, Henny Lasley and Diane Carlson, and supported by charitable contributions, go to https://onechancetogrowup.org

fmiklin.villager@gmail.com