Cannabis use worldwide is increasing while the cannabis on the market is getting stronger in terms of its THC content. Of real concern, fewer young people see it as harmful. Now the largest ever study into the health effects of different types of cannabis highlights concerns about stronger forms of the drug.
A new study, published in the journal Lancet Psychiatry, has found that cannabis products with high THC concentrations carry an increased risk of addiction and mental health disorders.
“One of the highest quality studies included in our publication found that use of high potency cannabis, compared to low potency cannabis, was linked to a four-fold increased risk of addiction,”
said Tom Freeman, a senior lecturer in the department of psychology and director of the addiction and mental health group at the University of Bath in the United Kingdom.
The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction found a 76% rise in people entering treatment for cannabis addiction over the past decade, “while cannabis potency continued to rise during the same time,” Freeman said.
THC levels increased by approximately 5.7 milligrams each year from 1975 to 2017, the study found. Concentrated products can reach extremely high levels of THC. This yearly rise in potency may not be clear to consumers, experts fear.
As marijuana became more potent, cases of marijuana-associated psychosis rose, the review found. Psychosis is a “loss of contact with reality” that can be characterised by hearing voices and having delusions, Freeman said.
“The evidence linking cannabis potency to addiction and psychosis was very clear”
High-potency weed users appear to have a significant increase in the likelihood of developing generalised anxiety disorder than those who smoke less robust strains of marijuana
Note: In New Zealand, The Institute of Environmental Science and Research (ESR) studied cannabis potency in 1996 and 2010 and found that the latter had THC levels of up to 30%, compared to levels ranging between 1.3 and 9.7% in 1996. The NZ Government was going to legislate potency ‘starting’ at 15% if cannabis was legalised in New Zealand in 2020. 🙄
Thankfully New Zealand voted Nope To Dope.
*This post was written by Family First staff writers.