May 14, 2022

May is here and it’s an exciting time for teenagers and families with prom, graduation, parties, and end-of-year celebrations. These upcoming spring festivities provide an opportunity for you to have a conversation with your teen about marijuana.  Please consider using the below information as a starting point for further learning and thoughtful discussions with your family and friends.  Please share widely with those that care about kids!


Why it Matters:

The time between graduating high school and graduating college is a crucial time for our teens and young adults as they make new, different and sometimes difficult decisions that could have lifetime implications.  Help empower the young adult or teen in your life with information. 

What you need to know:  

THC comes in many forms and strengths.

Low THC - CBD and Delta-8 products are of growing concern.  The natural amount of THC and other cannabinoids found in hemp is very low, however, through a chemical process, THC is converted into much higher concentrated products that can have psychoactive effects. CBD, also derived from hemp, is unregulated and therefore may contain THC content sufficient to fail a drug test which could interrupt college plans,  financial aid, and job security. The FDA has recently issued a warning for these types of products.

Hemp/Delta products are easily purchased online, as well as at a variety of retailers (depending on your state), including convenience stores and gas stations, where there may not be purchase or age restrictions.

Some products mimic nicotine products so the consumer must check the packaging carefully.

High THC - Higher potency products are those typically sold in a dispensary.

  • Flower's 1970 average THC of 5-7% is today 17-20% (19.6 per gram in Colorado in 2020), but has been sold with as much as 35% THC.
  • Other THC products which were not available in the past, now exist in the legal market and may have a THC potency up to 98%. These ultra high THC products have little in common with the natural plant.
  • Consuming edibles that are commonly made into candy and treats can result in high doses of THC being ingested, especially if the serving size is unavailable or ignored.  

High doses of THC can produce serious mental and physical health symptoms that can last for several hours or longer.  Symptoms may include: cognitive impairment, motor impairment, extreme sedation, agitation, anxiety, increased heart stress, nausea, vomiting, hallucinations, delusions, and psychosis.

Ethan Andrew, 23, talks to Rocky Mountain PBS about experiencing cannabis induced psychosis.

Please take a moment to watch the frightening, heartbreaking and courageous story. 

One man’s message about cannabis-induced psychosis

Fentanyl poisonings have drastically increased.  This incredibly potent drug is being mixed with other illegal drugs including marijuana to increase potency of the product.  Sold as powders, or sprays, it has been found easily added to marijuana products, illegally and without the user’s knowledge.  According to the CDC, synthetic opioids (like fentanyl) are the primary driver of overdose deaths in the United States, increasing 55%, January 31, 2020 to January 31, 2021.

Selling or distributing THC products to someone under the age of 21 is illegal in most legalized recreational markets and could result in a felony conviction.  There is the  very real risk young adults could lose federal grants or scholarships if convicted of possession or distribution of marijuana.  In addition, some schools have strict drug policies that could lead to disqualification of an application or admittance if offenses are outside of their drug policies.

Motivated by profits, the marijuana industry is just like any for-profit industry, they use enticing advertising, innovative products, and sweet or exciting flavors to appeal to, and gain new users.  Information on the internet and social media is both good and bad.  It’s important that your young adult decipher and understand the motivation for their message.  Here are a few examples to discuss:

  • Is the message truly about their well being or is it profit motivated?
  • Source and background of the author
  • Source of funding that paid for the study
  • Does the initiator have a monetary interest in the industry directly or indirectly?

Let's not forget how these types of tobacco ads ran for decades with little to no pushback. The tobacco industry misinformed millions of smokers by promoting their dangerous and deadly products as helpful and healthy.

With lagging sales, some tobacco companies are moving into the marijuana space and will undoubtedly bring some of these same marketing tactics with them.  Philip Morris International, Altria, and British American Tobacco have already purchased significant interests in marijuana companies.


What you can do:

Studies show that kids listen to trusted adults and this is a proven protective factor to deter youth use. 

Conversation Points:

  • Just because marijuana is legal for adults in some states doesn’t make it safe for your teen or young adult.  A developing brain is especially vulnerable until age 25.
  • Marijuana use can keep your young adult from reaching their full potential. Use can impair learning, memory and can cause a drop of up to 6 IQ points.  Research shows marijuana use can lead to lower educational outcomes, derailed career goals, and reduced life satisfaction. 
  • Marijuana use can affect emotions later in life. Teen users are more likely to be depressed or have suicidal thoughts in adulthood.  If you have a family history of addiction or mental health risks, this may make your young adult more likely to become addicted to marijuana or develop negative outcomes.
  • Marijuana affects reaction time, judgment and depth perception, which makes it dangerous to get behind the wheel of a car or be a passenger if the driver has used marijuana.
  • What are the options for assistance if your student needs it?  Look for campuses, communities, and clubs that have alternative activities and support programs.
  • Conclude the conversation with a clear statement of your expectations, a plan for their future and encourage them to delay marijuana use  to protect their brain.


Be mindful that the marijuana industry and products are evolving very rapidly.  Information and legislation needs to keep up.  Unfortunately, many new, radically different and often kid-friendly products are constantly being introduced and aggressively marketed.  Check out for current updates of today’s available products in states where THC is commercially available. Please visit our website if you would like more information and follow us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Thank you for your care and support in better protecting our kids. 

The One Chance Team


Additional resources:

Graduation resource

Talking with Your Teen About Marijuana

Tips for Talking with Youth About Marijuana | CDPHE

Cannabis Awareness and Prevention Toolkit | Stanford Medicine

Contact Us

One Chance to Grow Up
789 Sherman Street, Suite 250
Denver, Colorado 80203

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One Chance to Grow Up, formerly Smart Colorado, focuses on protecting kids across the nation from the dangers of today’s marijuana. We don’t take sides on the politics of legalization for adults but instead serve as a reliable resource for parents, media, policymakers, and all those who care about kids. Started by concerned parents, we’re a 501(c)(3) nonprofit supported by charitable contributions.


One Chance to Grow Up
789 Sherman Street Suite 250 | Denver, Colorado 80203
7203505366 |

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