Marijuana Treats Look Like Familiar Sweets

pot headsIn the first 5 months of this year,  nine children had been treated at the Colorado Children’s Hospital in Aurora for ingesting marijuana.  Seven of these children were in intensive care.    By August, at least 3 more children had been in emergency treatment for marijuana at the same hospital.

The first stores for recreational marijuana opened in January, 2014.  Marijuana overdoses in children began October, 2009, when medical marijuana suddenly exploded in Colorado.  There were no such incidences recorded between 2005 and 2009, according to Dr. George Wang, head of emergency services at Colorado Children’s Hospital.  He explained the problem in a Colorado Public Radio interview last year.   Colorado’s medical marijuana was approved by voters in 2000, but the expansion of medical marijuana in 2009 caused the new problem.  The pace doubled this year, as a commercialized marijuana industry started selling new products.  “Legalizing creates greater promotion…. and also legitimizes the drug,” according to Bob Doyle, who was featured in a video we shared.firecrackers

In response to two deaths from edible marijuana, the governor signed legislation to regulate marijuana in May.  The laws will go into effect in 2016.  Edible pot will require child-proofing, as is required for pharmaceutical and over-the-the-counter medicine.

Despite labels, many of the children who have been hospitalized were too young to read.    A TV investigation showed that most children can’t tell the difference between the “adult candies” and those that are only for children.  Previously,  we published pictures of commercial pot candies available in Colorado, and in California.  Here’s an additional sampling.

pot drinksEven when parents try to keep it away from them, children go for sweets.  Cartoon-like characters and bright colors will always attract children.   It’s logical that school-age  children could be so attracted to the packaging that they would not bother to read.

Both the manufacturing of marijuana sweets and the packaging make them so appealing.  Edible pot processors make products that closely imitate familiar products, like Cap’N Crunch cereal and Pop Tarts. One company’s Pot-tarts are hard to distinguish from Kellogg’s Pot-tarts.poptarts

The Hershey Co. has filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against TinctureBelle, a Colorado marijuana edibles company, claiming it makes four pot-infused candies that too closely resemble iconic products of the chocolate maker.

The specific lollipopsproducts which mimic the look of Hershey’s candies are: Ganja Joy, like Almond Joy; Hasheath, which looks like Heath Bars; Hashees which resemble Reese’s peanut cups, and Dabby Patty, made to look like York peppermint patties.  The company’s website says its products “diabetic safe and delicious” and helpful with a variety of issues, including pain, headaches and insomnia.

Hershey says the products are packaged in a way that will confuse consumers, including children. The lawsuit alleges that TinctureBelle “creates a genuine safety risk with regard to consumers” who may inadvertently eat them thinking they are ordinary chocolate candy.   Other pot candies that look like Kit Kats, Milky Ways, Nestle’s Crunch and Butterfingers.  Will other candy companies like Nestles or Mars file a lawsuits, also?

pot candies

“Not so Fast”

This 4-1/2-minute video by Heather Sells of CBN News, Clearing the Smoke: The Real Costs of Legal Pot, exposes what legalizing means for the children of Colorado.

 

Twice as many 8th graders in Denver use pot than elsewhere in the country. Tax revenue is less than expected.  Wake up Americans to the hidden costs of marijuana legalization.  It is a great video to show if your politicians are promoting legalization.

Here’s the web article, published with the video in April 2014.

Myths About Marijuana

This Video comes from the Concordance Blog and is dated 2012.

This video deals exclusively with the documented negative health consequences of recreational cannabis use.

I used data from over 140 papers in the process of preparing this video. I’ve done my best to document sources. Below are some key papers for reference.

1. CANNABIS USE AND RISK OF LUNG CANCER: A CASE-CONTROL STUDY
Eur Respir J. 2008 February; 31(2): 280–286.

2. Possible role of marijuana smoking as a carcinogen in the development of lung cancer at a young age.
J Psychoactive Drugs. 1994 Jul-Sep;26(3):285-8.

3. Associations between duration of illicit drug use and health conditions: results from the 2005-2007 national surveys on drug use and health.
Ann Epidemiol. 2010 Apr;20(4):289-97.

4. Cannabis and road crashes: a survey of recent French studies.
Ann Pharm Fr. 2006 May;64(3):192-6.

5. Drugs in fatally injured young male drivers.
Public Health Rep. 1985 Jan–Feb; 100(1): 19–25.

6. Dose related risk of motor vehicle crashes after cannabis use.
Drug Alcohol Depend. 2004 Feb 7;73(2):109-19.

7. Developing limits for driving under cannabis.
Addiction. 2007 Dec;102(12):1910-7.

8. The effect of cannabis compared to alcohol on driving.
Am J Addict. 2009; 18(3): 185–193.

9. If cannabis caused schizophrenia–how many cannabis users may need to be prevented in order to prevent one case of schizophrenia? England and Wales calculations.
Addiction. 2009 Nov;104(11):1856-61.

10. Cannabis and suicide: longitudinal study.
Br J Psychiatry. 2009 Dec;195(6):492-7.

11. Cannabis use and the risk of developing a psychotic disorder.
World Psychiatry. 2008;7(2):68-71.

12. Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol effects in schizophrenia: implications for cognition, psychosis, and addiction.
Biol Psychiatry. 2005 Mar 15;57(6):594-608.

13. Adverse health effects of non-medical cannabis use.
Lancet. 2009 Oct 17;374(9698):1383-91.

14. General and oral health implications of cannabis use.
Aust Dent J. 2005 Jun;50(2):70-4.

15. Adverse health effects of non-medical cannabis use.
Lancet. 2009 Oct 17;374(9698):1383-91.

16. Adverse effects of cannabis on health: an update of the literature since 1996.
Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2004 Aug;28(5):849-63.

17. Evaluating the drug use “gateway” theory using cross-national data: consistency and associations of the order of initiation of drug use among participants in the WHO World Mental Health Surveys.
Drug Alcohol Depend. 2010 Apr 1;108(1-2):84-97.

18. Does marijuana use serve as a gateway to cigarette use for high-risk African-American youth?
Am J Drug Alcohol Abuse. 2008;34(6):782-91.

There are another dozen or so papers I would like to include here, but will not for the sake of brevity.
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Blindsided by Pot

I experimented and tried pot 4x in my teens. It may have been fun at the time, but I got flashbacks that came unexpectedly. It didn’t happen to those I smoked with; experienced tokers told me the flashbacks were only a part of harder drugs. I was blindsided.

Now I’ve read enough to know pot stays in the body much longer than alcohol and that flashbacks from pot are real.  Some people said the marijuana that gave me flashbacks was spiked with something else.  They were wrong.  I’m glad that very bad early experience with pot prevented me from trying any other drugs.  It scared me enough not to continue.

Flashing forward to the next generation — my daughter was picked up in high school at a Target with kids who had pot on them, but she didn’t have pot on her.  She was very stoic while the others were acting silly.  Was it an act?  It’s hard to know.  The police just went to the parents’ homes and talked to them.  There weren’t any arrests, just a slap on the wrist.

Expectations Slammed

In college, this daughter came home her junior year at winter break in a deep depression, what used to be called a “nervous breakdown.”  Emergency treatment, testing, counseling and good therapy set her back on the right track. Only later did she tell me that she had been smoking tons of pot and it had made her depressed.  She blamed it on “bad weed,” but now acknowledges that weed is really bad for her. Marijuana holds so many false promises.

Some of you who read this will say she probably had an underlying bipolar condition. That’s never been suggested by the professionals, but it had been diagnosed for a friend’s niece who ended up in a psychiatric hospital at age 19. Two or three years later, the friend said she is not bipolar, but she had taken LSD.   I am sorry for these kids and their parents who go through trauma, anguish and hospitalization simply because they experimented too much with drugs and had not been warned properly.

The issue with pot went differently for a second daughter, the child who was always very sensible and responsible, the one you would never expect to try it. She recently explained to me about her pot use.   At age 15, she had been told, “You have to try it, you just have to do it.” The pressure was extreme, although she had declared 2-3 years earlier that she would never be a person who could be influenced by social pressure. (The lesson is that a drug problem can happen to anyone.)

Blindsided by the Gateway Effect

In college, she became addicted to amphetamines. Students who take ADHD medications freely share it and sell it to others. Before college she gave me a scare by having gotten into some of my pills after I had surgery.  Doctors were over-prescribing at that time and they should have taken particular precaution in homes where there are teens.   It all clicked when I recently read the Yale University study that showed marijuana is a gateway drug for females ages 18-25 who become opiate abusers.  As for the gateway theory, some deny it.  It makes sense that, once someone takes the initial risk with pot, their brains are primed for more risk.

So we’re 3 different people from the same family, and we had 3 different types of bad responses to marijuana.  As a teen I was impressed while hearing someone from Alcoholics Anonymous speak to our group. Drugs were big the 70s, but he said alcohol was more acceptable and society should be more concerned about kids using alcohol than drugs for that reason. He was right at the time, but that statement is no longer true. The marijuana lobbyists and pill pushers are trying to make everything else as mainstream as alcohol.

To all the pro-pot lobbyists who say those of us who don’t support marijuana legalization must favor pill abuse: You are wrong! Pill abuse is very serious, but marijuana is not the solution. So please stop pushing it on us and our kids. Please stop saying pot is not addictive. A friend from my generation who spent years being stoned before getting addiction treatment laments, “I wish they hadn’t told me it’s not addictive.”

Final Tragedy from Pot

My brother’s college roommate was less lucky. He was a championship swimmer at an Ivy League school.  Like so many people who were straight in high school, he let loose in college, only to find that marijuana really got a grip on him. He became very addicted to marijuana, but didn’t do other drugs. Eventually he dropped off the swim team and flunked out of school. In those days parents were told to practice tough love and zero tolerance with drugs. They did not pay for him to continue to indulge and he worked as a janitor for the school, to keep close to his friends. He slipped into a deep depression and killed himself. To this day my brother lives with the fact that he didn’t stop him, because he didn’t know it would end that way. Tough love is not a good policy. If you’re a parent, it is better to let those addicted know that you will do anything to save them.

Again and again I hear that the children who end up in treatment for multiple drugs always began with pot. I can’t see why we need more tragedies to learn the scope of the damage marijuana can cause.  Don’t be blindsided.

(The author submitted this story anonymously.)