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Marijuana Potency is Higher Than Ever

July 12th, 2008 · No Comments

The Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) recently released a report that revealed the levels of THC – the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana – has reached the highest-ever amounts since scientific analysis of the drug began in the late 1970s.

According to the latest data on marijuana samples analyzed to date, the average amount of THC in seized samples has reached a new high of 9.6 percent. This compares to an average of just under 4 percent reported in 1983 and represents more than a doubling in the potency of the drug since that time.

The image shown is referred to as a “steam roller” (peace pipe). The pipe is used by marijuana smokers. The smokers fill the bowl with cannabis, then put the hand over the end of the pipe nearest the bowl and the other end in the mouth. After lighting and inhaling until the chamber is filled with smoke, you then remove the hand and quickly inhale the collected smoke to have a stronger high.

“The increases in marijuana potency are of concern since they increase the likelihood of acute toxicity, including mental impairment,” said Dr. Nora Volkow, Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse. “Particularly worrisome is the possibility that the more potent THC might be more effective at triggering the changes in the brain that can lead to addiction.

The increased potency of marijuana available in the United States also corresponds with other troubling research showing links between marijuana use and depression. See this article on marijuana and depression.

“Pot” smokers are self medicating to feel better but it is a false feeling as long term brain damage is being done, especially with heavy users.

Higher potency marijuana may be contributing to a substantial increase in the number of American teenagers in treatment for marijuana dependence. The latest information from the Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS, 2006), reports that 16.1% of drug treatment admissions were for marijuana as the primary drug of abuse. This compares to 6% in 1992.

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Tags: Marijuana Addiction

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