Smoke & Mirrors: Colorado Teenagers and Marijuana
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Smoke & Mirrors: Colorado Teenagers and Marijuana
Posted by CN Staff on January 31, 2010 at 05:28:48 PT
By Christian Thurstone
Source: Denver Post
Denver -- Colorado's public policies regarding the use of medical marijuana are a complete mess  and as the medical director of a busy adolescent substance abuse treatment program in Denver, I get to contend with this mess every day. Take, for example, the 19-year-old whom I have treated for severe addiction for several months. He recently showed up in my clinic with a medical marijuana license. How did he get it? Easy, he said. He paid $300 for a brief visit with another doctor to discuss his "depression." The doctor took a cursory medical history that certainly didn't involve contacting me.
The teenager walked out with the paperwork needed not only for a license to smoke, but also for a license permitting a "caregiver" to grow up to six marijuana plants for him. My patient, who had quit using addictive substances after a near-death experience, is back to smoking marijuana daily, along with his caregiver.So, that's just one young person who managed to game the system, right? Not by a long shot.In the last three months, I have seen more than a dozen young people  all between the ages of 18 and 25 and with histories of substance abuse  who received from other doctors what are essentially permission slips to smoke pot. Some of my colleagues recently reported seeing a young, pregnant woman who was granted a license to smoke marijuana because of her nausea. (Yes, you read that right.) Kids without licenses tell me about the potent pot they buy from from caregivers whose plants yield enough supply to support sales on the side.Colorado schools are also scrambling to make sense of our muddled public policies. Educators ask me how to deal with students who have marijuana prescriptions for their attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and with the "medical marijuana specialists" seen passing out business cards in student parking lots. Here's what I tell them: Good research shows that using marijuana makes anxiety, depression and ADHD worse, so let's stop prescribing marijuana to our youth.Colorado is just beginning to see much bigger and more costly problems associated with teen marijuana smoking. That's particularly unfortunate because our state already ranks among the top five for adolescent marijuana use and among states providing the least access to adolescent substance abuse treatment. Snipped   Complete Article: Denver Post (CO)Author: Christian ThurstonePublished: January 31, 2010Copyright: 2010 The Denver Post CorpWebsite: openforum denverpost.comCannabisNews Medical Marijuana Archives 
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Comment #22 posted by ekim on February 10, 2010 at 12:13:10 PT
all callers and email were positive
many called for prohibition to end == saying that no one cards anyone for cannabis some callers said med use is helping them
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Comment #21 posted by ekim on February 10, 2010 at 11:46:30 PT
he is on NPR now
talking about med cannabis
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Comment #20 posted by Hope on February 03, 2010 at 11:51:35 PT
Teenagers and cannabis laws
How tough?I want these laws and policies light enough that no teenager will ever commit suicide over getting busted again. 
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Comment #19 posted by rchandar on February 02, 2010 at 13:28:40 PT:
Thanks for laying it down. It's a moving story, and I wish you luck and kindness.
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Comment #18 posted by The GCW on February 02, 2010 at 07:19:17 PT
LTE in Summit Daily News about Denver Post art.
Although this article is printed in the Denver Post, there was a LTE, referring to it in My local Summit Daily News.-0-US CO: LTE: Don't legalize it
 Webpage: 2 Feb 2010 
Contact: Carol James 
Don't legalize it 
With an eye to my efforts in opposition against the legalization of marijuana in Summit County, I would encourage everyone to read the feature article in Sunday's Denver Post (Jan. 31) by Christian Thurstone, a doctor and psychiatrist who is a specialist in drug addiction. The article is on the front page of the Perspective section. Anyone who believes that the use of medical marijuana will be restricted to adults in our community will learn otherwise in this piece. I would also like to point out that the city council of Los Angeles, which allowed thousands of medical marijuana clinics to open in their metropolitan area, has now taken action to close down more than 90 percent of the clinics. That leaves a number which, based on the population of LA and if compared in ratio to the population of Summit County, would leave less than one clinic in Summit County. Finally, as someone with degrees in political science, I can tell you that federal law always trumps state law. If tested in the federal courts, Colorado's constitutional amendment allowing medical marijuana would be declared illegal. Cont.-0-The link includes comments. This LTE is coming soon to MAP. The Summit Daily News will print Your letter too.)
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Comment #17 posted by Christen-Mitchell on February 01, 2010 at 19:59:24 PT
Phoney Story
I don't believe that Colorado allows use for depression. Physical problems only
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Comment #16 posted by FoM on February 01, 2010 at 12:06:32 PT
Colorado Senate Passes Medical Marijuana Bill
February 1, 2010DENVER, Colorado  The Senate has passed a bill preventing recreational pot users from skirting the law to obtain medical marijuana is headed.The Senate voted 34-1 on Monday to back the measure, Senate Bill 109, and send it to the House.It would bar doctors from writing recommendations inside dispensaries that sell medical marijuana. It requires that doctors review a person's medical history and give them a full exam before recommending that they become a legal user of medical marijuana.Those between 18 and 21 would have to get the approval of two doctors, which is already required for patients under 18.Copyright: 2010 Associated Press
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Comment #15 posted by FoM on February 01, 2010 at 10:05:30 PT
Banks Wary of Marijuana-Dispensary Accounts
February 1, 2010URL:
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Comment #14 posted by runruff on February 01, 2010 at 09:46:20 PT
Which state are you in?CRRH and THCF operates in many western states.I knw people, where are you?
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Comment #13 posted by FoM on February 01, 2010 at 08:47:36 PT
It's good to see you and I understand your frustration.
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Comment #12 posted by FoM on February 01, 2010 at 08:46:33 PT
Thank you. I don't think I'm that tough but I'm trying. We had friends visit yesterday and I think I over did it that's why I'm getting a slow start today. I want to mention that I have had 5 major surgeries before this one and I decided to approach this last surgery my way. I hope people can read between the lines because I was laughing in the operating room and made the nurses and doctor laugh. It's way past time to change the laws on marijuana.PS: Stick has been a gem and takes excellent care of me. I wouldn't be doing this well without him.
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Comment #11 posted by greenfox on February 01, 2010 at 07:36:04 PT
almost forgot a few things...
also:cards have to be updated every year- and they cost! Which means a doctor visit (which also costs!) every year, MINIMUM!you pay basically the same as you would on the street, maybe even more, but it's because you're "guaranteed" purity.every club runs the risk of being shut down at ANY time. Thank God (I mean this from the bottom of my heart) that "DUBBBBBYTYYYYYAAAAWWWW" is NOT president anymore, because that B****** basically made a lot of people's lives hell.MEANWHILE, tobacco, alcohol, and "speed" drinks go on selling at every gas station, NEARLY 24 hours a day (in my state there is only 3 hours you >cannotTake care and don't take any wooden nickels! ----=gf
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Comment #10 posted by herbdoc215 on February 01, 2010 at 07:27:39 PT
The prohibitionist are missing the POINT
I've personally seen hundreds of folks kick bad nasty drug habits when given the choice of a constant high-grade supply of cannabis and now they want to act like it's leading them to meth/heroin when I have personally saw so many use it to clean up...when we first start in HumCo me and Tod Mikurya went around and around about this...BUT after I watched it change hundreds of folks lives I became a true believer! Cannabis has also kept my ADHD pretty much in check since I was 11 yrs old and if anybody wants to look at my school records they are welcome! I challenge ANY prohibitionist to lay their transcripts next to mine and compare grades or difficulty of classes and I started college at WKU at 15 yrs old and smoked pot several times EVERY day! Kap said it best, when you push pigs from the trough they squeal louder than hell! 
FoM, Your tougher than nails girl, it's nice to see you bounce back so fast and well...warms my heart? peace, steve
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Comment #9 posted by greenfox on February 01, 2010 at 07:24:56 PT
This whole thing is crap, I'm sorry but it is
Seriously- I've qualified for a medical card in my state. I had to MOVE states just to get TO a medical state. As far as paying a doctor and getting a card, just like that?!? HAHAHAHA!!!! ROTFLMAO! It's not *quite* that easy. In fact, it's downright hard (or it was for me) - I had to present a COMPLETE medical history; THEN I had to show my CURRENT pharmaceutical medications. THEN I had to EXPLAIN why pot would be better for me than the pharms. I'd say it was harder to get that card than a script for oxycontin, but that might be over-doing it a bit. And in MY state anyways, they won't even "serve" minors. AND- if it's your first time and you're in an actual registered clinic, they HAVE TO OFFER *EVERY* other option- you don't see the pot counters til' VERY LAST! They give you (free) acupuncture, massage therapy, yoga, meditation classes; the list goes on. And when it comes to growing, it's county by county, YES, but MOST counties' limits are WAY to SMALL! Then there is the task of going BACK in and explaining why you need MORE. And just BTW- getting a care giver's card is harder than ALL OF THE ABOVE - you have to PROVE you are going to help the person, that they have no idea what they are doing, that you will ONLY profit SLIGHTLY on labor, and that they are PHYSICALLY incapable of doing it themselves. THEN you can ONLY have 3 people as "caregivers"- max! So let me tell you folks, it is QUITE regulated and VERY safe. The bud has thorough testing; the co-ops turn down --> 90 % I know I haven't posted on here in YEARS, but seriously.... let's cut out the B&$#S #*! and talk "straight" about something very important to a LOT of people; not just "teen aged pot heads" (where do they come UP WITH THIS?!?)peace all.sly in green, foxy in kind,
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Comment #8 posted by runruff on February 01, 2010 at 03:58:03 PT
Runruff's take on history. 
Runruff; Wha....did I miss something?No seriously, what did I miss?Did something just happen, tell me?No wait, what was that?Did you see that?I did't see that!OK, ferrgetaboudit!
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Comment #7 posted by rchandar on January 31, 2010 at 18:01:28 PT:
I wouldn't take the comment too much to heart. Most doctors care about the patients' general welfare: they are also wealthy participants in a medical system that grants them a great deal of egoistic leeway. I am a depression patient: I take antidepressants to stay calm. I know for a fact that Dr. Thurstone believes that MJ aggravates depression symptoms; I also know that each case is unique. There are several other mitigating factors in a depression or bipolar diagnosis: social success, childhood, the pressures of every day life and for success. Quitting MJ DOES NOT guarantee one's sanity, that is abundantly clear. And plenty of smokers never face depression symptoms.   I think Dr. Thurstone's diagnosis is very limiting. It presumes that all drugs are bad and that only a doctor could understand what drugs do. That, of course, is false.I graduated from Vanderbilt, one of the nation's top schools. Scored in the 700s on the GRE. And my IQ? A very modest 120. Those tests are culturally biased and lopsided towards people who think life as it is is great. If you are poor or disadvantaged, many times you will do poorly on "intelligence tests" because they presume that life is good. In the same vein, I would say that many doctors are prejudiced. I don't dismiss their ideas, though: where there's a will, there's a way.--rchandar
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Comment #6 posted by rchandar on January 31, 2010 at 14:50:58 PT:
Thurstone Revisited
The entire argument that Thurstone makes depends upon the availability of the 19-year old's supply. I won't pretend that adolescents suffering from depression have an easy time of things: I'm 39 and some days are rougher than others.What Thurstone really seems to be saying is that "I'm afraid of losing this 'kid' because I care." Okay, 19-year olds are legally adults, and us older folks don't always make sensible decisions anyway. In a neutral setting (which we as proponents of legalization must always keep in mind, if we are to change laws), Thurstone's diagnosis depends upon two factors: the availability of mediweed, and the relationships the patient has had with "caregivers" (dealers). Thurstone also assumes that Colorado's MMJ law is going to be retracted soon: with Obama in office for another three years and Eric Holder fairly popular for fighting the Mexican cartels, it is unlikely that a policy shift that survived Bush and Cheney will truly disappear into the ramshackle fatalism of a revived Drug War.While Thurstone's argument doesn't hold up at all (Colorado is a star producer of our plant), it serves as a reminder that a deep and continuous effort is required to make MMJ stay.--rchandar
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Comment #5 posted by kaptinemo on January 31, 2010 at 09:53:49 PT:
As anyone who's worked on a farm will tell you
when pigs get pushed away from the feed trough, they squeal very loudly.Same goes for drug prohibs whose bread-and-butter has been derived from the canard called 'marijuana addiction'. When faced with the prospect that their livelihoods are threatened by sensible drug policy, they make very loud and indignant noises, too.With regards to the mental health issue, one matter stands out above others: that a patient might be using cannabis to deal with emotional/psychological pain. Whatever the source of the underlying trauma, very often those suffering from that particular type of pain seek out whatever means is available to ameliorate it. And the safest way of doing so is, of course, cannabis. If the health of the patient (and not the bank account of the 'professional' who's 'helping' the patient) is of paramount importance, it becomes readily apparent which course of action is best followed. A course of action which people like this supposed 'professional' wish to deny those who have not benefited from said 'professional's 'expertise' and reliance upon Big Pharma-produced meds with demonstrably dubious side-effects (such as deepened depression, suicide, murder, etc.)Such an approach can only be described as institutionalized sadism. So, to me, this is no different than the aforementioned pig squealing. And it deserves as much respect.
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Comment #4 posted by Hope on January 31, 2010 at 09:43:49 PT
Notation at end of article.
"Christian Thurstone is a board-certified child/adolescent and addictions psychiatrist who conducts federally funded research on marijuana addiction in teenagers."
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Comment #3 posted by AndyLee on January 31, 2010 at 08:44:57 PT:
Great Flashback Article
FOM: Thanks for the jump back in time. Gustave Flaubert: 
Our ignorance of history causes us to slander our own times.H. G. Wells: 
History is a race between education and catastrophe.Henry Ford: 
History is more or less bunk. It's tradition. We don't want tradition. We want to live in the present and the only history that is worth a tinker's damn is the history we make today.George Santayana: 
Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.George Wilhelm Hegel: 
What experience and history teach is this -- that people and governments never have learned anything from history, or acted on principles.
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Comment #2 posted by vincent on January 31, 2010 at 07:32:09 PT:
Christian "I am the ultimate authority" Thurs
  What a load of garbage! The arrogance of this knuckleheaded quack is amazing. Obviously, he is very brainwashed and is totally against the Medical Marijuana movement. Not only that but he sets himself up as "The" authority on what it is that ails today's youth. Listen to this garbage:"Take, for example, the 19-year-old whom I have treated for severe addiction for several months. He recently showed up in my clinic with a medical marijuana license. How did he get it? Easy, he said. He paid $300 for a brief visit with another doctor to discuss his 'depression'.The doctor took a cursory medical history that certainly didn't involve contacting me".Who the hell (and I don't mean 'heck') is this "doctor", that he assumes EVERY other doctor has to "contact him" for advice. 
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on January 31, 2010 at 05:34:25 PT
Debate Harkens To Medical Use of Liquor
By Roger Alan WaltonJanuary 31, 2010"There were 8,000 packages on hand when the American Railway Express Company opened its offices Monday. Long lines of permit holders formed on Stout street, fearful that their consignments might be denied to them." So heralded the Western Newspaper Union News Service. Indeed, the most recent session of the Colorado General Assembly had adopted the Horton permit system, which allowed for the importation of "four ounces, procurable only through a physician's prescription."Marijuana? No, Colorado first prohibited marijuana in 1927.URL:
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