Dr. Avnish Jolly, Chandigarh:According to study conducted at the University of Mississippi revealed the levels of Tetra Hydra Cannibinol (THC) in marijuana have reached a 30-year high, almost double the reading taken in 1983, a new study has revealed, raising concerns that the drug could now be more effective at triggering the changes in the brain that can lead to addiction.
THC – the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana-has reached the highest-ever amounts since scientific analysis of the drug began in the late 1970s, according to a press release published by the Office of National Drug Control Policy. According to press release the study was conducted as part of a marijuana potency monitoring project and evaluated seized batches of marijuana from 48 states. The highest concentration of THC found among the samples was 37.2 percent, the release said.
According to the last National Survey in 2006 on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), among Americans age 12 and older there are 14.8 million current users of marijuana and 4.2 million Americans (1.7 percent) classified with dependency or abuse of marijuana and the higher potency marijuana can also lead to a substantial increase in the number of American teenagers in treatment for marijuana dependence, researchers added. This study also found teens who have been diagnosed with stress and depression in the past year are twice as likely to use marijuana compared to those who have not. Findings of the study released in March were based on measurements on 62,797 cannabis samples, 1,302 hashish samples, and 468 hash oil samples seized by law enforcement agencies since 1975. The average amount of THC in seized samples has reached a new high of 9.6 percent. This compares to an average of just under 4 percent reported in 1983 and represents more than a doubling in the potency of the drug since that time.
Health regulators are now concerned that the high THC levels can lead to 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 more potent THC might be more effective at triggering the changes in the brain that can lead to addiction, the scientists said. However, more research is needed to establish this link between higher THC potency and higher addiction risk.