Smoking higher THC variants of cannabis may put people at risk of dependencies.
A group of researchers from Iowa State University have published a study that suggests people who consume cannabis with higher levels of THC—the compound in the plant that gets you high—are at higher risks of developing dependencies. A person who consumes cannabis with an average THC level of around 12 percent is almost five times more likely to develop dependencies than those who consume cannabis with THC amounts closer to five percent.
"This is the first step toward understanding the influence of potency," Dr Brooke Arterberry, the lead author of the study told Independent. "While more research is needed, the risk associated with higher potency highlights the need for early intervention and targeted prevention efforts."
The study followed people aged 11 to 26 from families with histories of drug abuse. During annual follow-ups with the study participants it was revealed that the individuals who started out consuming high-THC strains of cannabis were more likely to develop cannabis dependencies. Arterberry says this study suggests states with legal cannabis should consider implementing regulations on THC levels, which have been steadily increasing in recent years.
"Based on the results, states may want to think about the available potency levels of cannabis products, especially with the changing legal landscape of cannabis."
Of course, as the science of cannabis continues to develop some research is showing that the various compounds in cannabis often work together. That means not only that consuming only cannabis with high levels of THC might be unhealthy, but it might not deliver the desired results either.