The levels of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, have reached the highest percentages recorded since the University of Mississippi's Potency Monitoring Project began in 1976.
According to the latest report from the project, the average amount of THC in marijuana seized and purchased by law enforcement agencies in the U.S. has risen to 9.6%. In 1983, the average amount of THC found in marijuana was under 4%.
Risk of Mental Impairment
"Baby boomer parents who still think marijuana is a harmless substance need to look at the facts," said John Walters, Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy in a news release. "Marijuana potency has grown steeply over the past decade, with serious implications in particular for young people, who may be not only at increased risk for various psychological conditions, cognitive deficits, and respiratory problems, but are also at significantly higher risk for developing dependency on other drugs, such as cocaine and heroin than are non-smokers."
"The increases in marijuana potency are of concern since they increase the likelihood of acute toxicity, including mental impairment," said Dr. Nora Volkow, Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse. "Particularly worrisome is the possibility that the more potent THC might be more effective at triggering the changes in the brain that can lead to addiction; however, more research is needed to establish this link between higher THC potency and higher addiction risk."
The entire report is available online in PDF format.
More About Marijuana: