Researchers who collected and analyzed data taken from at least 28 European countries have discovered that the potency and price of cannabis has increased significantly over the last decade.
The researchers from King’s College London and University of Bath found that the strength of cannabis has doubled from what it was 11 years ago. The data used in this study was taken from the data collected by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction.
The researchers looked at cannabis from two perspectives or categories. One was herbal cannabis and the other was resin cannabis.
The concentration of THC doubled from five percent to 10 percent between 2006 and 2016 in herbal cannabis. Similarly, cannabis resin had its THC content jump from eight percent to 17 percent between 2006 and 2017.
The price of herbal cannabis and cannabis resin also rose steadily during the years analyzed by the researchers. For example, the price of a gram of herbal cannabis rose from 7.36 Euros ($8.41) to 12.22 Euros ($13.97) between 2006 and 2016.
The researchers also observed that while the THC content of cannabis was increasing with time, there was no commensurate rise in the CBD content of cannabis over the same duration covered in the study.
This increase in the concentration of THC raises many concerns since users are more likely to show the psychoactive (and potentially harmful) side-effects of using marijuana. In contrast, a higher CBD content moderates the psychoactive elements of cannabis, so it would be beneficial to see CBD rising in tandem with any increase in THC content.
However, the seizures made by British police show that cannabis resin has stable or reducing levels of CBD and yet the THC content has been growing. This is in contrast to herbal cannabis whose CBD level has been relatively constant even if THC has increased.
Globally, approximately 192 million people use cannabis either for medicinal or recreational purposes. However, these numbers are likely to increase as more jurisdictions pass laws ending prohibition or allowing medical marijuana.
It is therefore necessary to conduct thorough research about the likely impact of this highly potent cannabis on the market. Similarly, regulators need to find ways to regulate the potency of the cannabis released into the market in a way that is similar to how alcohol potency is controlled. For now, consumers should take a cautious approach and remember that a gram of cannabis today may be the equivalent of more than two grams of cannabis a decade ago, so less can be consumed while still offering the same ‘high’.
TransCanna, Therma Bright, Inc. (TSX.V: THRM) (OTC: THRBF) and other industry players have been calling for the relaxation of prohibitionist laws in the U.S. so that the scientific community there can study marijuana and facilitate the growth of the industry without exposing users to avoidable risks.
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