A recent article in the Daily Caller examines the potency of marijuana available today as compared to what has been grown in the past two decades. The article focuses on a research study the University of Mississippi published in the Biological Psychiatry Journal.
As part of the study, scientists from the university conducted an examination of roughly 40,000 samples of marijuana that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) seized between the mid-1990’s and 2014. One major component of this study was to measure the levels of THC in each sample and plot their levels so that trends could be determined. THC is the abbreviation for tetrahydrocannabinol, which his the chemical in marijuana that caused the psychotropic effects associated with the drug.
There are variety of reasons one would want to grow marijuana with higher levels of THC, so it is safe to say this did not happen by accident. As marijuana cultivators became more sophisticated and had access to more agricultural technology, including hydroponics, growers were able to increase the THC levels of any given strain, and then continually select and create strains that had higher THC levels. This does not mean the marijuana plants were genetically engineered, which his what large companies do with corn seed, for example; instead, it involves carefully selecting marijuana strains and making new hybrids.
One of the main reasons a marijuana cultivator would want a higher THC strain of marijuana is because he or she can sell it for more money. This is true of illicit marijuana sold on the street, and it is true of legal medical marijuana dispensaries in Los Angeles.
There are some that suggest a marijuana user, medical or recreational, will develop a tolerance to THC similar to what happens to people who take opioid based narcotic pharmaceuticals. According to this theory, people will have to smoke more marijuana to get high, which will come with increased health risks associated with smoking, including lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD). However, smoking a strain of marijuana with a higher strain of THC would reduce the amount one would have to smoke. While this may be true, many medical marijuana users in Orange County do not need to smoke marijuana at all, as it is available in many different forms, including oils, baked goods, candy, and other edibles. These forms allow patients to get the medical benefits of THC without the negative effects associated with smoking.
As for the actual amount marijuana strains have increased over the years, results form the study shows that today’s marijuana strains are on average 12 percent THC as compared to the 1990s, when the average strain had four percent THC. Those who are opposed to medical marijuana and the legalization of marijuana for recreational purposes are claiming that these higher levels of THC can lead to serious mental health problems, but this theory does not seem to be supported by much credible evidence. In fact, there have been very few studies on the mental effects of THC, but it is a violation of federal law to use marijuana, which means that any university that gets federal funding (basically every university) has a very difficult time conducting research without fear of losing funding.
The Los Angeles CANNABIS LAW Group represents growers, dispensaries, collectives, patients and those facing marijuana charges. Call us at 714-937-2050.
Marijuana Is Stronger Now Than It Has Been For 20 Years, Study Finds, February 15, 2016, The Daily Caller, By Guy Bentey
More Blog Entries:
More Orange County Cities Race to Ban Medical Marijuana, Jan. 25, 2016, Los Angeles Medical Marijuana Attorney Blog