A new report, the third one issued by the Retail Marijuana Public Health Advisory Committee organized by the Colorado Dept. of Public Health, continues to sound the alarm regarding levels of use of marijuana and the health affects in Colorado homes with children, and use of marijuana during pregnancy.
The report, part of the recently released Monitoring Health Concerns Related to Marijuana in Colorado: 2018 is intended as a guide for public health education and prevention efforts focused on the use of marijuana, tobacco and alcohol in a home with children and their use during pregnancy.
The study showed that though the percentage of women who use marijuana during pregnancy has remained stable since data were first collected in 2014, the use percentage continues to be higher among younger women, women with less education, and women with unintended pregnancies. The level is concerning because marijuana exposure in pregnancy is associated with decreased cognitive function and attention problems for children exposed in the uterus, or as young children.
Unintentional marijuana consumption among children under the age of nine continues a slow upward trend, as do children’s emergency department visits due to marijuana. The study showed an estimated 23,000 Colorado homes with children have marijuana stored potentially unsafely. Marijuana exposures in children can lead to significant clinical effects that require medical attention.
Across the state, marijuana use among high school students remains stable and use by teens is lower than teenage use of alcohol and nicotine vaping use, although the report showed there have been significant increases in dabbing and edible use. There is substantial evidence that marijuana use among adolescents and young adults is associated with addiction and other health effects.
“Sound science guides our efforts to protect Coloradans’ health,” said Dr. Tista Ghosh, interim chief medical officer at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. “It’s critical we continue to monitor use in all populations and work to minimize harms that could result from a variety of causes including unintended poisoning, unsafe driving, and mental health issues that may be associated with long-term, habitual use.”
The report also shows, for the first time that more adults of all ages are using marijuana, they are using it more frequently, and they are increasingly using multiple methods; 50 percent of adults who reported using marijuana in the past 30 days reported multiple methods of use, compared to 43.1 percent in 2016.
The good news is that the majority of homes in Colorado with children do not have marijuana present or being used inside the home and most homes that have marijuana, store it safely.
The report includes the committee’s review of scientific literature on the health effects of marijuana use, survey data about marijuana use in Colorado, and data from hospitals and the Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Center about potential marijuana-related health effects.
A report summary and detailed findings are available at colorado.gov/marijuanahealthinfo .
This site will contain updated data as it becomes available. The state health department’s marijuana education campaigns, Responsibility Grows Here https://responsibilitygrowshere.com/ and Cultiva Tu Responsabilidad http://www.cultivaturesponsabilidad.com , use findings from this report to reach Colorado’s most vulnerable populations with relevant messaging about safe, legal and responsible marijuana use.