Marijuana Is Stronger Now Than It Has Been For 20 Years, Study Finds

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Guy Bentley Research Associate, Reason Foundation
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Marijuana is stronger now than has it has been for the last 20 years, according to a study from the University of Mississippi.

Published in the journal Biological Psychiatry, researchers examined 38,681 samples of marijuana obtained from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration between 1995 and 2014.

Levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in marijuana tripled from four percent back in the mid-nineties to 12 percent in 2014, according to the study.

Lead researcher, Mahmoud A. ElSohly said, “the higher the THC content is, the more expensive the product. Therefore, the ability to charge more for marijuana with high THC content is an incentive for cannabis growers to select for and grow those varieties of plants that have a high THC content.”

“Moreover, pot smokers often develop a tolerance for THC, which means that, over time, they need increasingly higher doses of THC to get high,” he added. Larger doses of THC carry the risk of negative mental health effects,” ElSohly warned.

Not only are THC levels rising but the amount cannabidiol, which is thought to have some health benefits, is decreasing. From 1995 to 2014 the level of THC soared from 14 times the amount of cannabidiol to 80 times.

Kyle Sherman, CEO of the Denver-based company Flowhub, which provides marijuana growers with plant inventory management, told The Daily Caller News Foundation:

It’s no secret that there’s been an increase in the potency of cannabis over the last few decades- most users, especially those that have been consumers throughout the process, are aware of the increase. Higher-potency cannabis isn’t a problem in and of itself, so long as users are knowledgeable on the strength and proper dosage of what they’re taking in. This is another main argument for cannabis legalization- it allows for a more regulated and safe process.

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