More on THC: Concerns about Potency

As I discussed in the last blog the percentage of THC can reveal some information about a Cannabis product, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. While it describes the amount of THC in said product, it fails to completely describe the effect that will have on an individual. And while this industry has introduced products that were previously unheard of in the history of mankind’s interaction with Cannabis, some may hesitate to see the potential benefit when an imminent threat is so colorfully publicized.

There is a common belief these days that because the products available now are so much more potent than what anyone has previously seen, then they must be more dangerous. Vape cartridges and concentrates used for dabbing sport THC levels sometimes over 80 or 90%. And when those numbers are paired with news stories overgeneralizing the findings of Cannabis use research, it can be daunting. Studies examining anything from Cannabis use disorders to psychosis brought about by Cannabis use have been published in recent years.

Unfortunately, all 10 reliable studies according to the Journal Biological Psychiatry, examined the question of Cannabis use in slightly different ways. Some examined potency levels and frequent use while some only examined frequent use with similar or identical absorption methods. And while there is some evidence to show a correlation between Cannabis use and the increased likelihood of psychiatric disorders, there is no evidence to support a causal relationship. This means that a cause and effect relationship cannot be established.

One thing we can identify objectively is the effect THC has on norepinephrine production. James Giordano, professor of neurology and biochemistry at Georgetown University points out that while the blocking of norepinephrine caused by THC consumption which usually brings about feelings of calmness and relaxation in most people can have a rebound effect in others—triggering increased alertness and anxiety. But we still don’t know exactly how much is required, why this happens, or even if it will happen in every instance.

Whether you’re experiencing Cannabis for the first time ever, for the first time in a long time, or for the first time since lunch; you should understand that while we still need to learn a lot about how THC works with our bodies and our brains; humans have been consuming this plant for a long time with no recorded detrimental effects. Most importantly we should be able to recognize that research is extremely limited both in breadth and in depth. For those wishing to explore the world that Cannabis can offer, simply proceed with the understanding that you don’t have to hunt for highest potency to experience what everyone is talking about.


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