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High-potency Cannabis Use Increases The Risk Of Psychosis And Addiction; Study

New research published in Lancet Psychiatry suggests that cannabis products have become stronger, and cannabis potency has increased globally in recent decades, leading more people to become addicted to marijuana.

According to the study, individuals who use higher concentrations of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, are more likely to have an addiction and mental health problems [1].

First, let us define high-potency use. A drug of high potency will elicit a given response at low concentrations, while a drug of lower potency will evoke the same response only at higher concentrations [2]. It is THC that is responsible for the psychoactive effects of cannabis [3].

High-potency Cannabis, Psychosis And Addiction

Cannabis potency - measured by how much THC it contains - has been increasing for almost half a century, increasing by 0.29 per cent annually between 1970 and 2017 [4].

Scientists have defined a 'standard THC unit' as 5 milligrams of THC, which produces a mild intoxication for non-regular users. According to the researchers, low-potency products contain 5 to 10 milligrams of THC per gram.

Researchers examined studies exploring the relationship between cannabis potency and mental health and addiction. A total of 20 studies were examined, including reports on anxiety, depression, psychosis, and cannabis use disorder or marijuana addiction [5][6][7].

As a result, higher-potency cannabis was associated with a higher risk of cannabis use disorder than lower-potency cannabis. In addition to highlighting global trends in cannabis addiction and treatment rates, the findings demonstrate that cannabis potency has continued to rise over the past twelve months.

"We know from animal studies that higher doses of THC are more likely to cause addiction than lower doses," said the study's lead author, Kat Petrilli. "As people are exposed to higher doses of THC through the use of higher-potency cannabis, this may increase the likelihood that it can cause long-term changes, such as to cannabinoid receptors in the brain, which are associated with psychosis risk."

In studies, high-potency cannabis users are more likely to suffer from psychosis than low-potency users, with one study finding a nearly sevenfold increase in the risk of psychosis.

  • There is an increased risk of addiction when using high-potency cannabis products compared to low-potency cannabis, with one report indicating a nearly sevenfold increase.
  • Studies on the effects of high-potency cannabis on anxiety and depression were mixed, meaning it is unclear what impact the intervention will have on these other mental health outcomes.
  • Researchers could identify only 20 studies that met the criteria for inclusion in their analysis, underscoring the paucity of research on this topic. According to them, the study leaves many questions unanswered, and the field is still in its infancy.
  • One of the problems with the new report was that the studies used only data on whether people consumed cannabis on a monthly, weekly, or daily basis.

On A Final Note...

Taking a closer look at daily users and asking how many times a day they use the service is imperative. In addition, it is important to consider the absolute level of THC exposure as we begin to think more deeply about this issue. Finally, the researchers added that cannabis use could be made safer by using lower-potency products, which provides a rational strategy for harm reduction.

Disclaimer: We do not promote smoking or the recreational use of marijuana and other illegal marijuana products and drugs. The article is solely developed for informational purposes.

Story first published: Thursday, August 11, 2022, 15:47 [IST]
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