The perception of marijuana changes daily to one of being natural, healthy and a miracle cure for almost anything.
Nationally, only 1 in 5 adolescents perceived it as harmful according to SAMHSA’s 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. The older generation remembers marijuana at extremely low levels of 1-4% THC, the psychoactive chemical in marijuana, and think of it as a nonthreatening substance. But over the years the plants have been genetically modified to increase the average THC levels up to 13% to 35% THC or more. While the plants’ characteristics are changing to a more potent substance, the necessary research to keep pace has not taken place, leaving too many unknowns.
Meanwhile, the cannabis industry is engaging in an all-out social norming campaign to normalize cannabis into mainstream everyday life. Now to cement the normalization, mainstay companies in our culture are considering adding to their bottom-line by exploring infusing marijuana into their products.
It is a perfect storm. Genetically modifying a substance to make it more potent, a lack of comprehensive research to identify consequences of use, a robust marketing campaign to normalize the drug, and industries willing to commercialize the product and jump on the bandwagon of what is believed to be the twenty-first century gold rush in hopes of keeping their bottom line booming.
Raise your voice. Voicing disapproval over the proliferation of cannabis-infused products will help send clear messages to our youth. When companies like Coca-Cola consider entering this market, it sends confusing messages to everyone, especially our youth. Our advocacy and education about this drug are needed more than ever.
Prevention Action Alliance
September 25, 2018