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Marijuana more potent than ever

June 12, 2008 |  5:24 pm

Pot500

Marijuana is more potent than at any time since scientific analysis of the drug began in the 1970s, according to a report from the University of Mississippi’s Potency Monitoring Project. The average amount of THC in marijuana, the primary psychoactive ingredient in the drug, was tested at 9.6% --more than double the potency of marijuana in 1983.

The highest concentration of THC found in a single sample was 37.2%.

Since 1975, the group, which is funded through the National Institute on Drug Abuse, has analyzed and compiled data on nearly 63,000 cannabis samples, mostly seized in drug arrests, in 48 states.

"The increases in marijuana potency are of concern since they increase the likelihood of acute toxicity, including mental impairment," Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, says in a news release. "Particularly worrisome is the possibility that the more potent THC might be more effective at triggering the changes in the brain that can lead to addiction; however, more research is needed to establish this link between higher THC potency and higher addiction risk."

--Janet Cromley

Photo: Robert Durrell / Los Angeles Times

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