A new study claims that the more potent a strain of cannabis is, the more likely its consumer will be come "dependent" on it.
Researchers at University College London found those who consumed “high-potency” cannabis were twice as likely to become dependent as those who consumed lower-potency strains. These findings were presented last month at the International Early Psychosis Association meeting in Milan, but they have not been published in a peer-reviewed journal.
The U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) claims that people are considered to be dependent on cannabis if they experience withdrawal symptoms like irritability, mood and sleep problems and decreased appetite when they are not consuming it.
The study authors argue that in the last decade, cannabis strains with higher amounts of THC (which is what they mean when they say “high-potency” cannabis) have become widely available.
"Our findings suggest that people who prefer [high-potency marijuana] are around twice as likely to show problematic use," said Tom Freeman, a research associate in clinical psychopharmacology at University College London and a co-author of the study, in a statement.
"The best way for people to reduce [their] risk [of dependency] is to quit or cut down their use," Freeman said. "If this is not possible, they should be encouraged to switch to low-potency cannabis."
To reach their conclusions, researchers looked at data from more than 400 cannabis-using teenagers and young adults in the United Kingdom. They found that 43 percent of the participants who preferred high-potency cannabis were dependent on it, compared with 22 percent of the participants who did not prefer high-potency cannabis.
The researchers examined several factors, including age gender, cannabis and tobacco use, how much cannabis the user was exposed to, and how much THC was in the cannabis they consumed.
In the United States in 2014, 4.2 million people abused or were dependent on cannabis, according to NIDA.
h/t Live Science