From Addiction Inbox:
Australia has one of the highest rates of marijuana use in the world, but until recently, nobody could say for certain what, exactly, Australians were smoking. Researchers at the University of Sydney and the University of New South Wales recently analyzed hundreds of cannabis samples seized by Australian police, and put together comprehensive data on street-level marijuana potency across the country. They sampled police seizures and plants from crop eradication operations. The mean THC content of the samples was 14.88%, while absolute levels varied from less than 1% THC to almost 40%. Writing in PLoS one, Wendy Swift and colleagues found that roughly ¾ of the samples contained at least 10% total THC. Half the samples contained levels of 15% or higher—“the level recommended by the Garretsen Commission as warranting classification of cannabis as a ‘hard’ drug in the Netherlands.”
In the U.S., recent studies have shown that THC levels in cannabis from 1993 averaged 3.4%, and then soared to THC levels in 2008 of almost 9%.THC loads more than doubled in 15 years, but that is still a far cry from news reports erroneously referring to organic THC increases of 10 times or more.
CBD, or cannabidiol, another constituent of cannabis, has garnered considerable attention in the research community as well as the medical marijuana constituency due to its anti-emetic properties. Like many other cannabinoids, CBD is non-psychoactive, and acts as a muscle relaxant as well. CBD levels in the U.S. have remained consistently low over the past 20 years, at 0.3-0.4%. In the Australian study, about 90% of cannabis samples contained less than 0.1% total CBD, based on chromatographic analysis, although some of the samples had levels as high as 6%.
Read the rest here.
This is going to be interesting to watch as legalization creates more space and a market for ultra-premium pot. I’m not predicting anything, just wondering, but it makes me wonder if the relationship between the user and marijuana will change. As Bill White said several years back, “I can’t predict what the major drugs of misuse will be, but I can tell you that they are already here and someone will find a new way to use it.” In this case, could it be a new way to grow it? (BTW-This does not imply they I believe incarcerating people is a wise response to that possibility.)
- Analysis of Cannabis Seizures in NSW, Australia: Cannabis Potency and Cannabinoid Profile (plosone.org)