High Potency Weed Creating Marijuana Addicts Worldwide, Study Finds

Compared to people who use lower potency products (typically 5 to 10 milligrams per gram of THC), those who use higher potency cannabis are more likely to suffer from addiction and mental health issues, according to the study published Monday in the Lancet Psychiatry journal. .

Scientists have established a “standard THC unit” of 5 milligrams of THC for research. This amount is said to produce mild intoxication for non-regular users.

“One of the highest quality studies included in our publication found that using high potency cannabis, compared to low potency cannabis, was linked to a four times higher risk of addiction,” said study co-author Tom Freeman, senior lecturer at the department. of psychology and director of the Addiction and Mental Health Group at the University of Bath in the UK, in an email.

The European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction has found a 76% increase in the number of people entering treatment for cannabis addiction over the past decade, “while the potency of cannabis has continued to rise over the past decade. same period,” Freeman said.

In addition, “a United Nations report found that over the past two decades, the proportion of people seeking treatment for cannabis dependence has increased in all regions of the world except Africa,” said he declared.

An annual increase in power

In one gram of herbal cannabis, the dried and harvested tops of female marijuana plants that are typically smoked, THC levels increased by about 2.9 milligrams each year, according to a study 2020 by Freeman and his team at the University of Bath.
The potency of marijuana has been increasing every year since the 1970s, studies show.

In cannabis resin, the sticky brown sap of the plant from which extracts and potencies are made, THC levels increased by about 5.7 milligrams each year from 1975 to 2017, according to the study. Concentrated products can reach extremely high levels of THC.

This annual increase in potency may not be clear to consumers, experts fear. Although looking at a product label can tell a person the “accurate potency” of THC at a store where marijuana is legally sold, “people who buy cannabis illegally may not be able to access reliable information. on the potency of the product they’re using,” Freeman says.

“However, some types of cannabis are generally more potent than others – cannabis extracts are generally more potent than cannabis flower,” he added.

While people try to adjust their intake as their cannabis potency varies, “like adding less cannabis to their joint or inhaling less deeply,” these efforts don’t fully work, Freeman said. This means that “higher potency products always deliver a greater dose of THC to consumers than lower potency products,” he said.

Mental health affected

As marijuana became more potent, cases of marijuana-associated psychosis increased, according to the review. Psychosis is a “loss of touch with reality” that can be characterized by hearing voices and having delusions, Freeman said.

Marijuana use may affect your ability to think and plan, study finds

“The evidence linking cannabis potency to addiction and psychosis was very clear,” he said.

According to a 2020 study, high potency weed users appear to have a significantly increased likelihood of developing generalized anxiety disorder compared to those who smoke less robust marijuana strains.

However, the new review of studies found a “more varied” link between increased marijuana potency and depression and anxiety, “meaning the impact is unclear for these other mental health outcomes,” said Freeman.

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