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COMMUNITY VOICES: Warn your children about cannabis

Much discussion and claims have been made by those who use cannabis (marijuana or weed) for various health conditions. This article won’t argue against the health benefits of cannabidiol (CBD) products. I will be writing a series of articles addressing the use of cannabis, addiction/dependency and will provide medical and scientific research on this, including the study of the effects of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the component in cannabis that produces the “high” associated with marijuana use. The “high” alters the mind and diminishes one’s thinking and consciousness.

Products sold at cannabis dispensaries have labels on them because of Proposition 65 (a warning for California consumers). Such products can expose one to chemicals that are known in the state of California to cause cancer. A pregnant woman who smokes cannabis can affect the development of the child such as the child’s birth weight, behavior and learning ability. Exposure to cannabis smoke (marijuana) increases the risk of cancer.

Researchers from the University of Alberta said that among the billions of particles found in a single puff of cannabis smoke, 536 were identified from 2,575 chemical compounds. Of those, 110 are known to be toxic (lethal).

Medical and biological researchers of the National Institute on Drug Abuse found that children are at increased risk of accidental poisoning from edibles and other products made from marijuana. The study analyzed calls to poison control centers from January 2017 through December 2019. Products found to be consumed by children under 10 years of age were weed concentrates, extracts, beverages, vape juice and edibles.

Dr. Brian Johnston, executive committee member of the American Academy of Pediatrics' Council on Injury, Violence and Poisoning Prevention and professor of Pediatrics at the University of Washington, said pediatricians and emergency room doctors have seen increased accidental poisonings in children over the years as more and more states legalize marijuana.

Johnston went on to say, “Children are especially vulnerable to poisoning by cannabis in edible products. These products look like cookies, brownies, gummies, candy or soda. Many are even intentionally packaged to resemble popular sweets. … Despite their ordinary appearance, a single cannabis cookie or candy bar can contain several times the recommended adult dose of THC. Anyone who eats one of these products — especially a child — can experience overdose effects such as intoxication, altered perception, anxiety, panic, paranoia, dizziness, weakness, slurred speech, poor coordination, or even breathing and heart problems.”

Parents need to be on alert and keep such products containing THC out of their home. According to Dr. Johnston, “More needs to be done to protect children … manufacturers should move away from making products that look like candy, soda or dessert."

More on this subject will be addressed in part two of this series. I’ll be addressing the link of marijuana use to psychosis and schizophrenia.

You can follow me on my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/pastordavid.vivas.

David Vivas Jr. is the pastor at World Harvest International Church in Delano.

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