With the legalizing of marijuana for recreational use in California and other places, we find the industry alive and well. Maybe too well. You see, there are lots of specialty commercial growers who are pumping up the volume on the THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) content. THC, as you know, is the active ingredient in marijuana that gets you high. It has an almost immediate psychological effect that puts the user in an altered state-of-mind.
The non-THC cannabis market is touting the health benefits – some proven with empirical data, some not – for supplements, skin cream, protein powders, and an assortment of other products (cite:1). Buyer be advised there is a big difference between the stuff people smoke to get high, and the cannabis by-products people use for health and wellness.
THC is a Potent Psychological Chemical and Is Classified as a Neurotoxin
As recreational use marijuana growers compete for top-bidding – the most THC concentrated product – users are loving it. With higher levels of THC, the users can get higher, quicker. Unfortunately, since THC is a neurotoxin/poison it can also do damage to the brain. Over time it can be quite serious, as the THC kills more brain cells than the body’s natural process through creating stem cells can produce. If this doesn’t sound serious to you, then perhaps we should explore some of the real ramifications.
If you use marijuana with high, very high, or ultra-high THC levels you could bring on early Alzheimer’s or end up with Parkinson’s Disease. Now, that’s pretty serious, right? This is what happens to people who use too much and/or too high a concentration level. THC prevents the brain temporarily from forming long-term memories and from learning new things. To form long-term memories, you must first create short-term memories, but you can’t because your brain is disrupted in the process (cite: 2).
Perhaps you can see why people who smoke a lot of marijuana often have trouble remembering things? Maybe you can see why people you know who smoke a lot of marijuana sometimes appear to have dementia. The biggest problem now is, no one knows how bad this problem will become in the future, as THC levels have never been this high before. Now they are, and there are no real guidelines as to how concentrated the THC levels that are sold to the public can be.
The Pot of the 1960s and Today’s High Potency THC Marijuana
Indeed, you might be thinking to yourself right now; “If all those people smoked so much weed in the 60s, how come they seem to be doing fine now?” That’s a fair question and a great debating point, but consider if you will that the highest THC levels back in the 1960s were clocking in at 9%, most much lower than that, around 3 to 5%. Today, we have specialty marijuana that is 30%.
If someone in the 1960s was growing a little bud in their backyard, they were at the lower levels. Compare that to the high 30% THC levels now available which is six to ten times higher? Are you beginning to see the problem? Many chemists, botanists, and GMO researchers are all working very hard to produce the most THC intensive marijuana. There is a lot of money involved in producing high-grade potent marijuana, it’s in high demand by consumers and marijuana enthusiasts. Sometimes for bragging rights, sometimes in search of the ultimate high.
Marijuana dispensaries and sellers often tout that they have the highest THC marijuana for sale, some are overhyped sales nonsense. Still, even if they claim it is 35%, but it’s only 25%, it’s still way too concentrated for daily use.
1.) “Going Help Wild: Understanding the Challenges and opportunities for FDA Regulation of CBD in Food Products,” by Hannah Catt, published in the Journal of Food and Policy, Volume 15, Number 2, Fall of 2019.
2.) “High-potency cannabis and the risk of psychosis,” by Marta Di Forti, et. al. Published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, Br J Psychiatry. 2009 Dec; 195(6): 488-491. doi: 10.1192/bjp.bp.109.064220. Second article (PDF) of High TCH Research.