A new study has unearthed evidence that people who use high potency cannabis are more likely to suffer from both psychosis and addiction.
The paper defines cannabis potency as the level of concentration of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) contained within a cannabis product, this as per a study, which was published in the Lancelet Psychiatry on Monday. A 2020 study was conducted which found that the THC in cannabis has steadily increased from 1970 to 2017.
“Overall, use of higher potency cannabis, relative to lower potency cannabis, was associated with an increased risk of psychosis and CUD [cannabis use disorder],” the authors wrote.
THC is the specific ingredient in cannabis that produces the high or the buzz for users. As reported by CNN, experts are concerned about the health risks to the general public that could come from this increased potency.
“With the increasing strength of cannabis available in the U.S. and around the globe, it’s important to understand the long-term health outcomes that might be associated with using these types of products as compared to what has traditionally been available,” said Ziva Cooper, who is the director of the UCLA Center for cannabis use.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, despite cannabis being legal in 19 states for recreational use, Vermont is the only state to cap the potency of it.
Users who take lower potency cannabis, which measures approximately 5-10 milligrams of THC, are at a significantly reduced risk of psychosis or addiction, according to the study. 5 milligrams is defined as a “standard THC unit” according to the study.
“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,” study co-author Tom Freeman told CNN. Freeman also works at the University of Bath where he specializes in psychology and addiction.
Lead author Kat Petrilli, who also works at the University of Bath’s psychology department stated, “Our systematic review found that people who use higher-potency cannabis could be at increased risk of addiction as well as psychosis when compared to people who use cannabis products with lower potencies.”
Petrilli added, “These results are important in the context of harm reduction, which aims to minimize the negative consequences associated with drug use. While the safest level of use for cannabis is of course ‘no use,’ it is important to acknowledge that a significant number of people across the world use cannabis regularly, and to ensure they can make informed decisions that could reduce any possible harms associated with it.”
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