The amount of the intoxicating chemical in marijuana has risen from less than 1% in the 1970s to nearly 13% today, experts say.
By Caleb Hellerman, CNN, Updated 6:53 PM ET, Fri August 9, 2013
The glossy spread in “High Times” a magazine for pot devotees, showcases the “strongest strains on Earth.” The most recent rankings are topped by “Head Cheese,” which is grown in a hydroponic system and fed with a carefully calibrated dose of synthetic nutrients.
On “Weed Tracker,” a California-based website where medical marijuana users share notes, cannabis connoisseurs sing the praises of “Sensi Star” and rave about the “Grand Daddy Purple, which tastes like a berry vanilla smoothie.” Another medical site touts a bud “finished with a subtle fruit effect … offering a deep body stone with a creative mind high,” and warns it is “not for newbies or low-tolerance patients… But at the University of Mississippi, in a laboratory that tracks the potency of marijuana seized by federal law enforcement officers, they’ve found even higher levels — as high as 37%, according to Dr. Mahmoud ElSohly, the director of the Marijuana Potency Project. Since 1972, ElSohly says, the average THC content of marijuana has soared from less than 1% to 3 to 4% in the 1990s, to nearly 13% today. Legalizing pot isn’t about medicine, it’s about getting high “You really have to be careful,” he says. “The danger of this high-potency material is not with the experienced marijuana smokers, but young people who really don’t know what they’re smoking. They don’t know what to expect, and before they know it, they’ve inhaled too much.
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