The Truth: When today’s youth use marijuana, they are using the same drug used by youth in the 1960s and 1970s. A small number of low-THC samples seized by the Drug Enforcement Administration are used to calculate a dramatic increase in potency. However, these samples were not representative of the marijuana generally available to users during this era.
Potency data from the early 1980s to the present are more reliable, and they show no increase in the average THC content of marijuana. That being said there are certain strains available that have THC levels off the charts but these strains do not make it to the vast majority of smokers. Even if marijuana potency were to increase, it would not make the drug more dangerous. Marijuana that varies quite substantially in potency produces similar psychoactive effects. Besides it is this blogger’s opinion that high strength pot is healthier because you don’t need to smoke as much to get high. 99.9% of negative effects of marijuana are from the act of smoking so you lower the risk with high grade pot. The lethal dose for marijuana is approximately 1400 pounds in 14 minutes. No death has ever been attributed to a marijuana overdose in its 10,000 year history as a drug.
Modern methods of production do not contribute to potency. Hydroponics and other advanced techniques only increase crop yield and allow more options for growing. Cross breeding is what produces the desirable traits such as potency, bud size, grow cycle, etc but cross breeding is nothing new. Marijuana is not stronger or more dangerous.
- King LA, Carpentier C, Griffiths P. “Cannabis potency in Europe.” Addiction. 2005 Jul; 100(7):884-6
- Henneberger, Melinda. “Pot Surges Back, But It’s, Like, a Whole New World.” New York Times 6 February 1994: E18.
- Brown, Lee. “Interview with Lee Brown,” Dallas Morning News 21 May 1995.
- Drug Enforcement Administration. U.S. Drug Threat Assessment, 1993. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, 1993.
- Kleiman, Mark A.R. Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control. Westport: Greenwood Press, 1989. 29.Bennett, William. Director of National Drug Control Policy, remarks at Conference of Mayors. 23 April 1990.