Cannabis 1988.
Old drug, new dangers. The potency question

Mikuriya TH, Aldrich MR
Fitz Hugh Ludlow Memorial Library,
San Francisco, California.
J Psychoactive Drugs 1988 Jan-Mar;20(1):47-55


Observation of the real world of social marijuana use, where autotitration is the norm, renders the scare tactics of the new marijuana proponents not only inaccurate but irrelevant. There is much published evidence about the availability of highly potent varieties of cannabis from the nineteenth century through the present day. The effects attributed to the new marijuana are the same ones debated for centuries in many different cultures. The assertion that "all marijuana research to date has been done on 1 or 2 percent THC material" (Cohen 1968) ignores several thousand years of human experience with the drug. The old medical cannabis extracts were stronger than most of the forms now available, though the potency of illicit hash oils by the mid-1970's was approaching the level of medicinal preparations available before their removal from the USP. While it may be true that sinsemilla is more widely available than 10 or 15 years ago, its potency has not changed significantly from the 2.4 to 9.5 percent THC materials available in 1973-1974 (see Table I), or the five to 14 percent sinsemilla of 1975 (Perry 1977). The range of potencies available then (marijuana at 0.1% to 7.8% THC, averaging 2.0% to 5.0% THC by 1975) was approximately the same as that reported now. With such a range, the evidence simply cannot support the argument by Cohen (1986) that marijuana is "ten or more times more potent than the product smoked ten years ago." And to say that marijuana potency has increased 1,400 percent since any date in history is patent nonsense.

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