Cannabis's potency soars over past half century

In this news, we discuss the Cannabis's potency soars over past half century.

The largest study of how cannabis has changed over time finds that increased strength puts users at greater risk of harm.

Street cannabis across the world has become much stronger and carries an increased risk of harm, new research shows.

The study team behind the Addiction and Mental Health Group at the University of Bath synthesized data from more than 80,000 cannabis samples tested over the past 50 years from street samples collected in United States, United Kingdom, Netherlands, France, Denmark, Italy and New Zealand.

The results are published in the journal Addiction.

Researchers investigated how the levels of THC (the intoxicating component of cannabis responsible for giving users a “ high ”) changed over time in different types of cannabis. In herbal cannabis, they found that THC concentrations increased by 14 percent from 1970 to 2017. This was mainly due to a growing market share of stronger strains such as sinsemilla compared to cannabis at Traditional herbal that contains seeds and less THC.

The team previously found consistent evidence that frequent cannabis use with higher levels of THC carries an increased risk for problems such as addiction and psychotic disorders.

“As the strength of cannabis has increased, so does the number of people undergoing treatment for problems with cannabis use. More and more Europeans are now entering drug treatment for cannabis rather than heroin or cocaine, ”said lead author Dr Tom Freeman, director of the drug and drug addiction group. mental health from the University of Bath.

Researchers found that THC increases were particularly high for cannabis resin, with THC concentrations increasing by 24% between 1975 and 2017. Cannabis resin is extracted from herbal cannabis and is now generally stronger than cannabis resin. the cannabis plant according to the results.

They also looked at the concentrations of cannabidiol or CBD, which are not intoxicating but may have potential medical uses, such as helping people quit cannabis. Unlike THC, they found no evidence of changes in CBD in cannabis over time.

Sam Craft, co-author of the study, also from the Addiction and Mental Health Group at the University of Bath, explained: “Cannabis resin – or ‘hash’ – is often considered a type of cannabis. safer, but our results show that it is now stronger than herbal cannabis. Traditionally, cannabis resin contained much lower amounts of THC with equal amounts of CBD, but the concentrations of CBD have remained stable as THC has increased dramatically, meaning that it is now much more harmful than it does. many years ago.

Cannabis is the most widely used illicit drug in the world, but it has recently been legalized in Canada, Uruguay, and several US states.

The results of this new study are particularly relevant in light of the growing demands to legalize cannabis in order to make it safer. More recently, a referendum in New Zealand (which ultimately did not receive public support) included measures to limit the strength of cannabis sold through legalization.

Researchers argue that increasing the strength of cannabis underscores the need to implement broader harm reduction strategies similar to those used for alcohol – such as standard units and public guidelines on consumption limits. more secure.

“As the strength of cannabis has increased, consumers are faced with limited information to help them monitor their use and guide decisions about relative benefits and risks. Introducing a standard unit system for cannabis – similar to standard alcohol units – could help people limit their consumption and use it more safely, ”Freeman said.

News Highlights:

The power of cannabis has skyrocketed for half a century

Street cannabis around the world has gotten much stronger

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