Bath, UK — Marijuana is the most widely used drug in the world, aside from alcohol and nicotine. However, the potency of cannabis products around the world has steadily increased over the years, raising concerns about potential new health complications. Addiction treatment rates have increased at about the same pace as drug efficacy over the years.
Scientists at Bath’s Addiction and Mental Health Group systematically analyzed the relationship between the types of cannabis people use and addiction and mental health problems. The analysis included 20 previous studies involving nearly 120,000 people.
More specifically, cannabis potency refers to the concentration of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) present in marijuana. THC is the key psychoactive cannabinol behind marijuana’s trademark high. On a related note, a previous study conducted at the University of Bath found that today’s THC levels have increased significantly over time.
This latest study suggests that people who use high-potency cannabis are more likely to experience addiction than people who use low-potency marijuana. It indicates an increased risk of psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia among users.
Cannabis addiction has nearly doubled in the last decade
The study authors say these findings may help explain why more people are seeking treatment for cannabis problems in recent years.Data provided by European Drug and Drug Addiction Surveillance Center Over the past decade, 76% of people have been treated for cannabis addiction.
Overall, researchers think it may be time to start looking at public health guidelines and policies to promote safer marijuana use.
“Our systematic review found that people who use high-potency cannabis products may be at higher risk of addiction and psychosis than those who use low-potency cannabis products. said Kat Petrilli, lead study author in the University’s Bath Department of Psychology. release.
“These results are important in the context of harm reduction, which aims to minimize the negative effects associated with drug use. It is important to recognize that millions of people use cannabis on a regular basis so that they can make informed decisions that can reduce the potential harm associated with cannabis. “
Global marijuana use still varies by country
Marijuana legalization has become more widespread in the United States in recent years, and as we enter 2023, recreational cannabis is readily available in many states. Meanwhile, recreational marijuana remains illegal in the UK.
The Liberal Democrats in the UK argue that legally regulated markets promote safer cannabis use by imposing limits on the potency of cannabis products. It also helps fund education and treatment programs.
“Our findings suggest that people who use cannabis can reduce their risk of harm by using less potent products. Providing accurate information about product content and providing access to lower potency products could help people use cannabis more safely.
While there is anecdotal evidence linking cannabis to anxiety and depression, the authors of the study stress that the links between cannabis potency and other mental health problems remain unclear.
The survey results are Lancet Psychiatry.