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Weed smokers are calling BS on a newly released study that highlights the purported dangers of highly potent marijuana.
Published by JAMA Psychiatry, the study surveyed 1,087 adult weed users, 13 percent of whom reported using cannabis with high levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)—the psychoactive compound that produces the high sensation. Researchers found that those who use high-THC marijuana are four times more likely to abuse the drug and twice as more likely to develop generalized anxiety disorder. There were also higher rates of illicit drug use and tobacco dependency among respondents who reported smoking cannabis with higher levels of THC.
"Limiting the availability of high-potency cannabis may be associated with a reduction in the number of individuals who develop cannabis use disorders, the prevention of cannabis use from escalating to a regular behavior, and a reduction in the risk of mental health disorders," the co-authors wrote. "... The present study suggests that risks for cannabis use problems and anxiety disorders are further increased among those reporting the use of high-potency cannabis, even after accounting for sociodemographic factors, adolescent mental health, and frequency of cannabis use. Providing public health messaging regarding the importance of reducing both the frequency of cannabis use and the potency of the drug, as well as limiting the availability of high-potency cannabis, may be effective for reducing the harms associated with cannabis use."
As pointed out by CNN, a previous study found that common marijuana strains had THC levels of around 2-4 percent about 20 years ago. By 2013, those levels had reportedly increased by an average 25 percent, with some strains containing as much as 34 percent.
"You really have to be careful," Dr. Mahmoud ElSohly, the director of the Marijuana Potency Project, told CNN. "The danger of this high-potency material is not with the experienced marijuana smokers, but young people who really don't know what they're smoking. They don't know what to expect, and before they know it, they've inhaled too much."
The recent report published by JAMA Psychiatry has been met with plenty of skepticism across social media. Many Twitter users—some who have claimed to be longtime cannabis-smokers and/or growers—insist the levels of THC have remained pretty much the same over the last two decades. Others say their anxiety disorders have been alleviated through marijuana use, not exacerbated. But most critics of the study are simply dismissing it as propaganda that is fueling hysteria about, what they call, a relatively safe drug.
You can check out some of the reactions to the study below.
Please. Don’t perpetuate the Reefer Madness story again.— Dave the Sarcastic (@DtoTheSizzle) May 27, 2020
Marijuana is completely safe.
Hi expert here on cannabis THC levels.— Cannabis Cultivator (@CannabisMan46) May 27, 2020
I've been growing weed since 1992. The weed I grew then was JUST as potent as the weed is today. It is a complete myth that weed has significantly changed in the last 30 years as far as THC levels are concerned.
This just seems like bad science. Did those conducting the study take samples from the subjects and send them to a lab to be tested for potency (a lengthy and very expensive process)?— Michael J. Ware (@mmjware4761) May 27, 2020