How Colorado is Paving the Way for Cannabis Research and Study

Written by on October 21, 2020 in Stuff with 0 Comments
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The beautiful state of Colorado has been at the forefront of cannabis research, health and wellness studies and innovative legislation regarding both recreational and medicinal marijuana for years now. The case for legalizing or decriminalizing marijuana in the state goes back to the 1970s. Over the ensuing decades, legislation eventually gave way to the legalization of medical marijuana and eventually recreational marijuana as well.

The mountain state not only shows strong commercial and medical impact regarding the plant, they've dedicated resources to studying how it connects to the health of its citizens, the state economy and other factors. There are plenty of licensed and reputable options for recreational and medical marijuana in Colorado, but all Coloradoans should understand how the state is researching marijuana’s uses along with the risks and effects marijuana may have on society in general.

Cannabis research initiatives

The Institute of Cannabis Research at Colorado State University-Pueblo is the nation’s first multi-disciplinary cannabis research center at a regional, comprehensive institution. They conduct academic research on the benefits and risks associated with cannabis with the goal of innovative applications and improvement of life quality. Not only that, the university offers a 22 credit hour minor in Cannabis Studies intended to teach students policies surrounding cannabis, the legal and social impact of cannabis and apply their knowledge to health or other settings as appropriate.

Immediate health effects

The immediate health effects of marijuana are mostly suited to treating chronic pain and muscle spasms. Research suggests it can also alleviate anxiety, help with depression and have a profound impact on epilepsy. CBD oil can help with pain and inflammation, while acting as a mild insomnia cure as well.

Effects on youth

When recreational marijuana was legalized in the state, Denver publication Westword reported on the concerns and pushback among citizens, especially in regard to how marijuana can affect their kids. Colorado keeps a close watch on the effects of cannabis on youth, noting that youth are at special risk for harm from the drug for many reasons. First off, brain development isn’t complete until age 25 and marijuana use can affect the development process. Additionally, young people using marijuana are more likely to experience difficulty learning, problems with memory or trouble with math and reading.

The effects of marijuana may last for weeks following the first use and it can be addictive. Per Colorado’s Retail Marijuana Public Health Advisory Committee (who release a report each year on the subject), marijuana use by Colorado youth is only about 21 percent with four out five high school students not using marijuana. Out of the Colorado high schoolers who did use marijuana were using it before age 15. The best way to mitigate the effects of marijuana on youth is to engage in regular conversation with them about the possible risks of marijuana, be a role model for them and keep any medical or recreational marijuana safely stored out of their reach.

Addiction and other risks

According to a 2019 report by The Denver Post youth “driving while high” is a big concern revolving around the use of legal marijuana in the state. Marijuana can affect athletic performance, driving and mental health. While these present a problem, in some cases marijuana use can lead to addiction. Sometimes it can be related to an underlying issue like depression. Other times, a dependency on marijuana may develop. Per The National Institute on Drug Abuse, recent studies indicate that at least 30% of marijuana users may experience a form of addiction—especially if they began using it before the age of 18.

The State of Colorado outlines how to spot addiction and address it:

  • Be stoned or high more than one to two hours per day on a regular basis or so often, they can’t complete tasks.
  • Unable to stop using marijuana once started.
  • Have problems with concentration or memory loss.
  • Begin to take more risks while stoned or often discusses cutting back on marijuana.
  • Experience symptoms of withdrawal after not using marijuana.

These can apply to anyone, but are especially important when it comes to youth and marijuana use. While there are significant medical benefits to some aspects of marijuana use, knowing and understanding the risks is one of the most important pieces of the puzzle and a major part of why Colorado spends as much time, resources and energy as it does in regulating and researching marijuna.

Health and wellness in the future

Colorado is always researching the health benefits of marijuana. Current funded studies include effects of CBD on pediatric epilepsy, PTSD, irritable bowel disease and Parkinson’s disease. The state is also looking into analgesic effects and brain tumor reduction using marijuana. As the state rolls into the future, conducting new research and examining past research, the state is doing everything it can to find the positive effects of marijuana and keep the health and safety of its citizens the top priority.

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