The first study to investigate the strength of Australian marijuana has found some of the highest THC levels in the world.
You might think of places like Amsterdam or California as leaders in high potency marijuana, but new research shows it’s actually Australia that grows the world’s strongest pot.
In a study published last week, samples taken from the street market measured 15 percent THC on average, with the most potent strains measuring as high as 40 percent.
While recreational users might see this as good news, high levels of THC could be a drawback for Australians who use marijuana for medical purposes. That’s because CBD levels tend to decrease when THC goes up, which was another finding of the study.
Dr. Wendy Swift, lead author of the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC) investigation, told ABC News that other cannabinoids were present at “very low levels,” especially CBD.
The results, published in the international science journal PLOS ONE, showed over 90 percent of samples contained less than 0.1 percent CBD. Dr. Swift highlighted the problems associated with low CBD levels in a press release last week.
“While we have suspected for some time that cannabis in Australia contains high levels of THC, this is the first Australian analysis to demonstrate that on average, cannabis smoked by Australians is of similar high potency to that found in studies overseas and that levels of CBD, which may ameliorate some of the harmful effects of THC, are extremely low.”
The study was not only the first Australian analysis of CBD, but of cannabis potency in general.
However, the high THC content was less of a surprise, considering cannabis around the world has tested stronger for this compound for as long as anyone has studied it.
Still, the growing population of medical marijuana users seem to prefer CBD in most cases. The chemical has many of the same therapeutic effects as THC, but comes without the high.
In fact, in countries like Israel – where medical marijuana is legal – companies have developed strains with as much as 15 percent CBD and less than 1 percent THC in order to meet this need.
Which just goes to show, the rising strength of marijuana may actually be a good argument for – rather than against – legalizing the cannabis plant. Unfortunately, most policymakers continue to argue the opposite.