Special Report: The Changing World of Weed

What the recreational weed amendment means for Missouri
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Part 1 – Changing World of Weed

While doctors look to marijuana for possible medicinal treatments.. In states like Colorado — where recreational use is legal — new, more potent forms of the drug are being developed for consumers.

Whether it’s edibles or extracts, concentrated forms of THC are growing in demand.

They are more potent, dangerous, and easily accessible.

“Hash oil,” says one recreational smoker. “That’s pretty big right now.”

Hash oil, wax, or dab. All by products of marijuana using the hallucinenogenic chemical in weed.

“Oils from within the marijuana plant are extracted,” said Cherokee County Sheriff David Groves. “And then heated up and inhaled.”

The oil ends up as a concentrated form of THC, which produces a much stronger high.

“With those new concentrated forms of marijuana, in general, it’s very intense, it’s very quick, and it lasts for a very long time,” the user said. “And it’s quite enjoyable.”

Local law enforcement says they haven’t come across the marijuana extracts yet.

“[Not] in Cherokee County,” Groves said. “But we are aware that it is a growing trend. Especially those in the marijuana culture.”

But users say it’s already here.

“If you have a blow torch, and something metal, and a glass tube, you can do dabs,” one said anonymously. “It may not be around here en masse, but it is available.”

“We anticipate [extracts] to come to our area before too long just as other drug trends have in the past,” Groves said. “So we’re training ourselves and our officers on that.”

You may have already encountered the drug and didn’t know it.

Much of hash oil’s recent popularity is it’s ability to be smoked using vape pens; making it easy to pass off as an e-cig.

And with three vape stores in Pittsburg, the town may be readily prepared to serve as a major consumer.

“E-cig vaporizers for hash oil, probably in the future, gonna be even more popular as new varieties come out,” the user said.

And local law enforcement will have to adapt to the changing drug landscape.

“Western Kansas has been seeing, for a while, marijuana being exported from Colorado,” Groves said. “We’re starting to see that reach the Eastern side of the state.”

“We’re in Kansas. On our Western side we’ve got Colorado, a fully legalized state,” the user said. “And it’s not difficult to get your hands on it. Life finds a way.”

Part 2 – Changing World of Weed

Some of the most popular marijuana off-shoots are more dangerous than traditional marijuana.

The popularity of new, concentrated forms of THC (called dab, wax, or hash oil) has officials in both law enforcement and the medical field concerned.. While recreational marijuana users are excited about future possibilities when it comes to the changing world of weed

“The big difference in what we call the traditional use of marijuana and dabbing or waxing is that the THC content is much higher,” Crawford COunty Sheriff Dan Peak sCountyThey estimate in some instances as much as 80% THC in that substance.”

The high THC content has amateur cooks across the US experimenting to extract their own dab.

“It is dangerous,” Peak said. “It involves butane gas. Highly explosive.”

The process is fairly simple, but Sheriff Peak says the extraction could become more of an issue than the drug itself.

“Because butane is injected directly into the product,” Peak said. “So somebody is to make the product and decide to take a break — light one up, for example — that butane could still be present and an explosion could occur.”

In Colorado, the number of home explosions due to THC extraction labs has doubled since recreational use was legalized.

“It rivals the meth lab problems that we had years back,” Peak said. “If there’s a heat source introduced in a meth lab, there’s potential for an explosion. Or fire. The same goes for butane gas and the heat source there.”

The dangers don’t stop with the manufacture.

“So now, the question is, the alteration,” Via Christi Director of Pharmacy, Chris Okeke warns. “How far does it go? And what are the effects of this alteration?”

“It’s a huge risk,” he continued. “That paves the way for people to add some other things to the product. People tend to gravitate to what’s strongest. Not thinking in the backside, ‘what’s making this one stronger than the other one’, ‘is this something that can kill me’.”

This week Alaska became the fourth state to legalize marijuana.

And the Missouri house is currently considering a bill which would legalize medical marijuana — allowing up to 30 dispensaries state-wide.