Cannabis products are nearly 70% more potent than past decades
In recent decades the variety of cannabis products and potency have both seen drastic increases, experts say.
The Natural Center for Natural Products Research at the University of Mississippi’s School of Pharmacy has tested cannabis samples confiscated in federal raids throughout the past five decades. Its tests found that today’s marijuana flower is up to 57-67% more potent when compared to samples from the 70s.
Following legalization in Michigan, the marijuana industry is heavily regulated and producing even more powerful products for consumers.
According to Tyler Dutcher, owner of Vivid Farms grow facility, at 2273 Coolidge Road in Barryton, while some products have a much higher potency that some people prefer, there are lower dosage options that are available as well.
“If I were to recommend a product for beginners, I would have to point them towards low-dose edibles,” Dutcher said. “Infused products are always a good choice because you have more control over your dose. Flower is a good choice too. Start with a strain around 20% and use a small amount at a time to get your desired effect.”
In recent years the connection between psychosis and marijuana consumption has been examined, and The New York Times reported in 2022 on the risks of teenage cannabis use and instances of psychosis from regular consumption.
A 2018 study in the Journal of the Missouri State Medical Association found that use of high potency THC >15% resulted in a three times increased risk of psychosis, and if the use was daily there was a five times increased risk among those 18 and younger.
Chivonne Rush, a marketing representative with Timber Cannabis at 105 Perry Ave. in Big Rapids, said all officially licensed dispensaries encourage adult use only of products.
“We know that your brain isn’t fully formed till you're 25,” Rush said. “We definitely are looking for ways to attract only adults and keeping them informed. Our goal is always to educate the benefits of cannabis to those adults.”
Per The Addiction Center, the higher the amounts of THC in a cannabis product, the greater the possibility of dependence and eventual addiction.
The organization stated it is important to identify and implement effective treatment plans for individuals battling a dependency disorder and equally important to increase education among youth about the associated dangers and risks.
Dutcher said using flower at lower dosages and amounts is preferred if a user is concerned about risks and to stop use if unwanted reactions occur.
“It would take an abnormal amount of marijuana to hurt someone and it would have to be dropped on their head,” Dutcher said. “Consuming high potency cannabis for non-regular users can be uncomfortable at times but the risk really doesn't go past that. The education comes from your budtenders. Find a place you like the energy of and start asking questions.”