Teens using marijuana face higher risk of addiction, changes to brain

A student from Palmer High School, who declined to be identified, during his lunch break at Acacia Park near Palmer in Colorado Springs on Monday, Jan. 9, 2012 said he uses marijuana regularly Behind him is the Indispensary, one of 23 medical marijuana dispensaries located within 1,000 feet of a school.

He’s 16 but his baby face makes him look a little older than 10, his age when he first tried marijuana. “I smoke marijuana every single day all day long,” the teen said during a lunch period spent hanging out in a park outside his downtown Colorado Springs high school. “It develops brain cells. That is a complete and true fact,” he said. “It kills weak brain cells. Continue Reading →

Under Siege: Marijuana and Colorado Schools

A young man walks along Colfax Avenue past a sign advertising "premium medical marijuana" at nearby Serenity Moon Wellness Center in Denver on Jan. 20, 2012. East High School's former principal says Serenity Moon is exactly 753 feet from the school and its proximity along with a handful of other medical marijuana dispensary's "is not in any sense healthy for our young people."

Federal prosecutors echoed concerns in January when they targeted medical marijuana dispensaries within 1,000 feet of schools for their first crackdown since hundreds of shops with names like “Dr. Reefer” and “Ganja Gourmet” began spreading across the state in 2009. Continue Reading →

Treatment for rare condition forces teen from school

Chaz Moore, 17, lights a pipe with a dose of medical marijuana at his home in Colorado Springs on Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2012. Moore is one of 41 children under 18 in Colorado who have a medical marijuana license, according to Colorado state records. Two years ago doctors diagnosed him with myoclonus diaphragmatic flutter, an affliction causing muscle spasms in his chest that can recur dozens of times a day. Moore takes various medical marijuana products to treat it.

An attack seizes Chaz Moore’s body, stealing much of his breath. Spasms in his throat, lungs and diaphragm cause the 17-year-old to speak in hiccups, one syllable at a time. He says it feels like a grown man is jumping on his chest as the muscles in his belly roll like waves. Chaz opens a jar labeled MMJ, pulls out some fresh green buds and crumbles the marijuana into a small pipe. He lights up the bowl and inhales as deeply as possible through the spasms, turning to blow smoke out his bedroom window. Continue Reading →