Cannabis Seized By Law Enforcement Shows Steady Rise In THC Levels, Cannabis Flower And Hashish Products Over 50 Years
A new study conducted by theAddiction & Mental Health Group determined that the concentrations of THC in weed and resin have increased significantly over the past 50 years. According to this new data, street cannabis around the world has gotten much stronger. How has the potency of cannabis increased since the 1970s? This study aimed to systematically examine and meta-analyze changes in THC and CBD concentrations in cannabis over time. According to past analyzes, trends over the past decade suggest that cannabis becomes an increasingly powerful product in the United States and Europe.
The team behind the study, who belongs to the Addiction and Mental Health Group at the University of Bath, has synthesized data from more than 80000 cannabis samples tested over the past 50 years from street samples collected in the United States, in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, France, Denmark, Italy and New Zealand. After deduplication, a total of 3893 articles were identified, reviewed, and assessed for eligibility, with 122 selected for full-text search.
Their findings are published in the review Addiction and the research was funded by the Society for the Study of Addiction.
Evolution of THC and CBD concentrations in cannabis over time
Researchers investigated how the levels of THC (the component of cannabis high that is responsible for the euphoric state of consumers) has changed over time in different types of cannabis. In the case of herbal cannabis, they found that THC concentrations increased by 14% between 1970 and 2017. This is mainly due to the increased market share of stronger strains, like sinsemilla, compared to traditional herbal cannabis (Ruderalis) that contains seeds and less THC. THC concentrations in resins, meanwhile, increased 0,57% each year between 1975 and 2017, an increase of around 24%.
In particular, an analysis of cannabis flowers and hashish seized between 1995 and 2017 revealed no increase in CBD concentrations.
Lead author Dr Tom Freeman, director of the Addiction and Mental Health Group at the University of Bath, said “The potency of cannabis has increased, as has the number of people receiving treatment for drugs. problems with cannabis use. More Europeans are now taking drug addiction treatment for cannabis than for heroin or cocaine ”Extract from the study
In the context of typical use, our findings suggest that the amount of THC in a typical gram of cannabis increased by 2,9 milligrams per year for all herbal cannabis, and by 5,7 milligrams per year for the cannabis resin. These annual increases in milligrams of THC per gram of cannabis fall in the range of low single doses that can produce mild intoxication, similar to a “standard unit of THC” of 5 milligrams. Changing concentrations of THC over time could also influence the efficacy and safety of cannabis used for medical purposes in the absence of information on the standard dosage of illicit cannabis products ”.
Researchers believe that the increase in THC in the cannabis flower is due to an increase in the market share of weed or cannabis with a high THC concentration and not an overall increase in THC among specific strains. Further, they believe that the increase in THC concentrations in hashish products (while CBD concentrations have remained stable) may be explained by the increase in THC-rich material at the time of resin production. cannabis.
The findings of this new study are particularly relevant in light of the growing demands for the legalization of cannabis in an attempt to make it safer. Researchers say that increasing the potency of cannabis highlights the need to implement broader harm reduction strategies, similar to those used for alcohol, such as standard units and public guidelines on drug limits. safer consumption.
Although they considered studies from around the world, the authors note that, with the majority of the studies included in their research from the United States, the results are not "globally representative." In addition, “non-random” sampling by law enforcement may have contributed to potential bias in the study.