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Higher concentrations of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the part of the marijuana plant that gets you high, are causing more people to become addicted in many parts of the world, according to a new review of studies.

Compared to people who use lower-potency products (typically 5 to 10 milligrams per gram of THC), those who use higher-potency cannabis are more likely to experience addiction and mental health outcomes, according to the published study Monday in the journal Lancet Psychiatry. .

Scientists have established a “THC standard unit” of 5 milligrams of THC for research. This amount is said to produce mild intoxication for non-regular users.

“One of the highest-quality studies included in our publication found that the use of high-potency cannabis, compared to low-potency cannabis, was associated with a fourfold greater risk of addiction,” he said. said study co-author Tom Freeman, head professor of the department. of psychology and director of the Addictions and Mental Health Group at the University of Bath in the United Kingdom, in an email.

In the United States, about 3 in 10 people who use marijuana have cannabis use disorder, the medical term for marijuana addiction, according to the US Centers for Disease and Prevention.

The European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction found a 76% increase in people entering treatment for cannabis addiction over the past decade, “while the potency of cannabis continued to increase over the same period”, Freeman said.

Additionally, “a United Nations report found that in the past two decades, the proportion of people seeking treatment for cannabis addiction has increased in every region of the world except Africa,” he said .

In one gram of herbal cannabis, the dried, harvested tops of female marijuana plants that are typically smoked, THC concentrations increased by about 2.9 milligrams each year, according to a 2020 study by Freeman and his team at the University of Bath.

In cannabis resin, the sticky brown sap of the plant from which extracts and concentrates are made, THC levels increased by about 5.7 milligrams each year from 1975 to 2017, according to the study. Concentrated products can reach extremely high levels of THC.

This annual increase in power may not be clear to consumers, experts fear. While looking at a product label can tell a person the “precise potency” of THC in a store where marijuana is legally sold, “people who buy cannabis illegally may not be able to access reliable information about the power of the product they’re using.” Freeman said.

“However, certain types of cannabis tend to be more potent than others; cannabis extracts tend to be more potent than the cannabis flower,” he added.

While people try to adjust their use when the potency of their cannabis varies, “such as adding less cannabis to their joint or inhaling less deeply,” those efforts don’t completely work, Freeman said. That means “higher-potency products still deliver a higher dose of THC to consumers than lower-potency products,” he said.

As marijuana became more potent, cases of marijuana-related psychosis increased, the review found. Psychosis is a “loss of touch with reality” that can be characterized by hearing voices and having delusions, Freeman said.

“The evidence linking cannabis potency to addiction and psychosis was very clear,” he said.

Users of high-potency weed appear to have a significantly increased likelihood of developing generalized anxiety disorder than those who smoke less robust strains of marijuana, a 2020 study found.

However, the new study review It found a “more mixed” connection between marijuana’s increased potency and depression and anxiety, “meaning the impact is unclear for these other mental health outcomes,” Freeman said. .

Source: The study says that very powerful weed that creates marijuana addicts all over the world