Take a look at the facts

You may have heard the commonly repeated claim that marijuana has never killed anyone.

Take a minute to learn about Colorado’s new ultra-potent pot, which has unprecedented levels of THC, marijuana’s psychoactive ingredient.

  • When a college student fell to his death in Denver, the coroner listed “marijuana intoxication” from cannabis-infused cookies as a significant condition contributing to the death, according to The Denver Post.
  • After the suicide of a 23-year-old visitor to Keystone, his family pointed to large amounts of edible marijuana as a contributing cause, according to the Summit Daily.
  • The suicide of Marc Bullard in Colorado was recounted by Rocky Mountain PBS. His parents pointed to dabbing and believe “his use of high-potency THC led to his deep depression and eventual despair.”
  • A 17-year-old was driving while high on marijuana when his car struck and killed another teenage boy near Broomfield High School, according to CBS4, which reported: “Both the father of the victim and the 17th Judicial District Attorney blamed marijuana for what happened.” Police said the driver was “dabbing high-potency THC” before the accident, according to Rocky Mountain PBS.
  • A Thornton man accidentally fell to his death, CBS4 reported, and his sister believes marijuana impairment led him to make poor decisions. “I couldn’t believe how high the (THC) level was,” his sister told CBS4. “I think it had a very strong impact on what he did that night.”

Skyrocketing potencies

There's a new marijuana trend and it poses new dangers for kids, reports Fox31. Nationally, the potency of marijuana has increased dramatically from an average of about 3.7% THC in the early 1990s. Average potency of flowers/buds in Colorado is now 17.1% THC while the average potency for concentrates is 62.1%. Potency rates of up to 95% have been recorded. 

"These super high concentrations of THC, we don't know what happens because we have not been studying it,” Dr. Kari Franson, associate dean at the University of Colorado School of Pharmacy, told Rocky Mountain PBS in a segment aired on 9News. While edibles in Colorado are now limited to 10 milligrams THC per serving, Franson said "dabbers" are "getting 80, 90 percent THC in a concentrated oil. And when they smoke it, they're taking in 600-to-800 milligrams of THC."

Here’s what Gov. John Hickenlooper told a reporter for ColoradoPolitics.com: “When you’re a teenager, your brain is growing very, very rapidly. The high-THC marijuana we have is so intense in the way it affects your synapses and those parts of your brain that literally every brain scientist I’ve talked to feels there’s a very high probability that, even if you only smoke once a week, this high-THC marijuana, if you’re a teenager, it will take a sliver of your long-term memory forever. That doesn’t come back in two weeks or three weeks. Your brain is growing so fast that the synapses don’t connect so you can’t retrieve information that you remembered.”

In short: “Modern weed is not your Woodstock weed.” Pueblo County Sheriff Kirk Taylor told the Pueblo Chieftain.

Here’s why potency matters:

  • Colorado has no limits on overall marijuana potency.
  • Research has not addressed the health impacts of ultra-potent pot.
  • We know marijuana is bad for teens so the effects of ultra-potent pot on developing adolescent brains is of particular concern.


What is dabbing?

Dabbing is a way to smoke highly concentrated THC called “shatter,” “wax,” “honey,” “butter” and “crumble.”

It’s known as the “crack cocaine of marijuana.”

Emily Feinstein, the director of health law and policy for the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse told the New York Times: “Side effects can include: a rapid heartbeat, blackouts, psychosis, paranoia and hallucinations that cause people to end up in psychiatric facilities.”



Stay Informed

Learn more about Colorado’s ultra-potent pot and how you can help limit its harms.