WellesleyWeston Magazine

FALL 2017

Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

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kids debate me, saying, 'You're telling me that it's better to put me on Zoloft than THC, which could help my anxiety?'" Perception of risk and harm related to marijuana use is at an all-time low among our youth, notes Gruber, which may be the result of our ongoing dialogues around the possible benefits of medical marijuana. "I often have kids and older teens ask me, 'How can it be bad? My best friend's mother takes it as medicine.' You can understand how that would be confusing." In fact, for the first time in 2015, a national study called Monitoring the Future, which looked at drug use in adolescents, reported that more high school seniors smoke marijuana every day than smoke cigarettes. Both Ziegler and Gruber agree that policy has outpaced science. Legalization has occurred before the science surrounding medical and recreational marijuana is conclusive. What's In Your Weed? Today's cannabis is not the same as what you may have smoked back in the day. In the old days, the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration in weed may have been 3 to 4 percent. Today, the average concentration nationally is 12 percent, Gruber says, and can be as high as 30 percent. "THC is the major psychoactive component in cannabis that makes people high." (In Colorado, the average concentration was found to be about 19 per- cent in a recent study.) THC is the major psychoactive component in cannabis that makes people high. The Colorado lab in the study also tested for contaminants — bio- logical and chemical, from microbes to solvents — and the researchers found quite a few, everything from fungi to butane, which is used to make products like "wax," an extremely high-potency marijuana. The researchers noted that the biological contaminants weren't necessarily surprising — after all, pot is a plant. But it does point to the need for determinations about what's safe and what's not. What's Next Legalizing marijuana has raised a lot of issues, many of which still need to be resolved, and Massachusetts can learn from other states, which are ahead in this arena. What is clear is that this is not just a matter of opin- ion — emerging science is guiding us toward an understanding of the relationship between age of initiation, total exposure, and resultant brain function. In the interim, the question of how to talk to kids and what to tell them remains a very personal choice balancing prevention, pragmatism, and policy. M E D I A B A K E R Y 100 W e l l e s l e y W e s t o n M a g a z i n e | f a l l 2 0 1 7 Cannabis and Our Kids

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