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Risk of abusing marijuana doubles as teens use stronger marijuana strains, says study

Risk of abusing marijuana doubles as teens use stronger marijuana strains, says study

01-08 | Rachael

The strains of marijuana are getting stronger by the day putting the mental health of teenagers at risk, stated two recent researches. The study, carried out by the scientists of the Brown University, Iowa State and the University of Michigan, revealed that higher concentration of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) increases the risk of experiencing paranoia, hallucinations and other psychotic problems. Further, individuals who used a stronger strain of marijuana were at a 2.5 times higher risk of developing use-related disorder.

The second research, on the other hand, established that over 40 percent high school students using marijuana experienced at least one psychotic symptom. The researchers of the Harvard University emphasized that their work should prompt Washington DC and the 10 other states that have decriminalized marijuana for recreational use to establish the risks and benefits of using marijuana.

Marijuana decriminalization should be studied closely

Within a year of having their first interaction with cannabis, adolescents run a 2.5 times higher risk of developing a dependence. According to Dr. Brooke Arterberry, a psychologist at the Iowa State University, the concentration of THC has increased linearly in the last two decades. As more and more states are legalizing marijuana use, they should also look into the availability of strains that are high in potency.

According to a different study, 14- to 18-year-old individuals with cannabis use disorder (CUD) were at an increased risk of suffering from paranoia or hallucinations. “Respondents who met the criteria for CUD were more likely to have reported experiencing hallucinations or paranoia,” said co-author Dr. Sharon Levy, a pediatrician with the Boston Children’s Hospital.

Increasing THC levels and different types of strains

The last twenty years have seen a substantial rise in the average potency of weed strains. In 1994, the potency was measured at 3.5 percent which tripled to rise to 12.3 percent by 2012. Different strains of cannabis pack different concentration of THC. There are mainly three types of street variants – hash which is also known as hashish or resin, herbal cannabis aka weed, and grass or skunk, the high potency cannabis.

Hash is made from the resin of the cannabis plant while herbal cannabis is made from the dried leaves and flowering parts of a pollinated plant. In contrast, skunk is made from unpollinated cannabis plant which has a high concentration of THC. Skunk can induce a feeling of being stoned, hallucinations and paranoia. It is the strongest variety of marijuana while herbal cannabis and hash are considered to be the milder versions.

High THC and low CBD lead to psychotic symptoms

Experts feel that psychotic symptoms are produced by those cannabis strains that have low levels of CBD and high levels of THC. People who used low potency cannabis had a 1.88 times higher risk of developing dependency symptoms. This risk rose to 4.85 times for individuals who used strains with 12.3 percent potency in 12 months’ time.

The potential harms of using cannabis with high THC concentration include a strong urge to use it, frequent use in situations in which it could be harmful, and compromised performance at home, school or work, among others. Increased use could also lead to motor vehicle crashes and other accidents.

Seeking help for cannabis use

Teenage is a vulnerable phase as teens are impressionable. It is imperative to keep a close watch on them to determine if they use substances, and if they do, then parents and guardians need to support them in treatment. This can be achieved by seeking help from professional inpatient drug treatment centers in Colorado.

If you or your loved one is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, connect with the Colorado Drug Addiction Help to know about state-of-the-art addiction treatment centers in Colorado that specialize in evidence-based treatment plans. Call our 24/7 helpline – 866-218-7546 or chat online with a representative for further information on addiction treatment in Colorado.


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