Spencer Peterson / Morgan Ham / Jane Dvorak
303.239.3011 / [email protected]
Johnny’s Ambassadors prepares for walk to #StopDabbing
Johnny’s Ambassadors will be hosting their first walk to #StopDabbing at Valor Christian High School Stadium in Highlands Ranch on Sunday, September 20. Registration will begin at 1:45 p.m. mountain, while the walk will take place from 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Remote walkers should walk out from their homes at 2:30 mountain. Hold a photo of your loved one if you’ve been impacted by youth substance abuse and/or suicide.
The event is raising awareness of the effects high-potency marijuana has on adolescent brain development and youth suicide. Suicide was the number one leading cause of death for adolescents ages 10-24 in Colorado in 2019, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
With lifetime marijuana use among teenagers at its highest in 30 years, JAMA Psychiatry found suicide attempts were more than three times higher for those who smoked marijuana compared to those who did not.
“We are extremely excited about our first walk in honor of my son, Johnny, who died by suicide in Nov. 2019. We are hoping we can impact adolescent marijuana users and better inform parents about illegal, recreational use,” said Laura Stack, founder.
Johnny’s Ambassadors will walk in honor of Johnny Stack and those who have lost their loved ones to youth marijuana abuse, mental illness and suicide. The organization wants to increase awareness of the dangerous use of THC by adolescents under 21, whose brains are still forming. The Walk is raising funds to build an online curriculum for teenagers and their parents to learn about high potency marijuana, warnings and prevention.
Johnny was 19 when he died by suicide on November 20, 2019. He was a 4.0 student with a college scholarship, attended church, had a good family life and grew up in Colorado. Unfortunately, when marijuana was legalized in Colorado, Johnny began dabbing around the age of 14. What is dabbing?
Dabbing is a concentrated intake of the active component found in marijuana. What makes it different than legal recreational marijuana use?
Tetrahydrocannabinol is the psychoactive ingredient which gives cannabis its ‘high.’ THC is extracted out of the cannabis, so it is almost pure. A marijuana joint from the Woodstock era contained 2-5% THC, whereas today’s flower can contain 25% THC. When the THC is extracted, dabs contain an average of 70% THC, while the highest dabs contain more than 90%. The level of purity and intense concentration can have dramatic mental and health impacts.
THC dabs are a different drug than marijuana. Yes, both are made from the cannabis plant, but THC contains no plant matter.
“Unfortunately, not enough people, parents or teens alike, know what dabbing really means,” said Stack. “Dabbing uses a highly-potent form of THC, a level that is astronomically higher than marijuana of the 60s, 70s and 80s.”
To provide a comparison, about 15 joints then equals one hit from a dab pen now. Long-term cannabis use, beginning as an adolescent, can cause psychotic breaks or psychosis, trigger schizophrenia, cause depression, suicidal thoughts and suicide. Johnny Stack is an unfortunate statistic of these demographics.
While smoking marijuana remains the most frequent method of use, smoking decreased as dabbing significantly increased as the second most common method of marijuana consumption among high school students in 2019, according to the Healthy Kids Colorado Survey.
Recently, the CDPHE issued a public health statement in its THC in CO Marijuana Report: “High THC concentration marijuana use by adolescents and young adults is associated with continued use and development of future mental health symptoms and disorders.”
As of now, the event consists of six other cities who will be participating alongside those in Highlands Ranch: Denver, Colorado Springs, Fort Collins, Boston, Dallas and Houston. Johnny’s Ambassadors is hoping to organize 20 or more walks across Colorado and the U.S.