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Study Confirms Pot is Stronger Than it was 20 Years Ago

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Study Confirms Pot is Stronger Than it was 20 Years Ago

In addition, current interest in documenting different strains has led cannabis breeders to explore THC and CBD ratios and relationships.

Your fears have been confirmed, it turns out decades of selective cross-breeding and perfecting botanical techniques to maximize marijuana’s potency have been successful. A recent study indicates that marijuana today is stronger than it was 20 years ago.

As part of the new study published by the journal Biological Psychiatry, researchers at the University of Mississippi working under the umbrella of NIDA looked at 38,600 illegal marijuana samples that had been seized by the DEA over the last 20 years. They found that the THC level had risen from about 4 percent in 1995 to about 12 percent in 2014. The level of CBD dropped slightly from about 0.28 percent in 2001 to less than 0.15 percent in 2014.

“We can see that the ratio of THC to CBD has really, really increased and climbed so much higher,” said lead study author Mahmoud A. ElSohly. The THC:CBD ratio had risen from 14:1 in 1995 to a ratio of 80:1 in 2014. Of the nearly 39,000 samples, it’s important to note that the samples included hash oil, hashish and resinous extracts. Besides including hash and hash oil, there are several other reasons for the increase in THC levels.

Americans almost always value marijuana based on THC content.

“The higher the THC content is, the more expensive the product. Therefore, the ability to charge more for marijuana with high THC content is an incentive for cannabis growers to select for and grow those varieties of plants that have a high THC content,” ElSohly said. “Moreover, pot smokers often develop a tolerance for THC, which means that, over time, they need increasingly higher doses of THC to get high.”

One of the biggest jumps in cannabis potency came during the ’80s with the advent of hydroponics technology. For the first time, suburban growers could produce their own high-quality product. Legal pot has also driven down sales of lower-potency Mexican imports. During the ’70s, 72 percent of cannabis in circulation was low-potency brick weed brought in from Columbia via Mexico. In 2000, only 3.2 percent of cannabis in circulation was high-quality sinsemilla, but by 2010, 60 percent of cannabis in circulation was high-quality sinsemilla.

This confirms several other studies including new data released at the national meeting of the American Chemical Society. Researchers from Charas Scientific studied marijuana in Colorado today compared to marijuana many years ago.

“We’ve seen a big increase in marijuana potency compared to where it was 20 or 30 years ago,” director of research Andy LaFrate, Ph.D. said. “I would say the average potency of marijuana has probably increased by a factor of at least three. We’re looking at average potencies right now of around 20 percent THC.”

Charas Scientific is one of eight labs certified to test marijuana in the state of Colorado. During its study researchers found some samples with a THC content up to 30 percent. They also found that CBD levels had been bred out of modern marijuana samples.

“That was somewhat of a surprise. Much more potent strain and less of the medicinal part,” contributor Dr. David Agus said. “I hope more studies are done, but certainly we have to standardize and put CBD in there to make sure the studies have the benefit.”

The latest trend, however, is introducing CBD-rich cannabis strains. Breeders are preserving crucial medicinal genetics. According to Pure Analytics, breeders are developing strains with a THC:CBD ratio as high as 1:20.

Despite this recent push for CBD, THC is by far the most popular cannabinoid. The newest data is no surprise to cannabis consumers who have already been seeking out strains with the highest amount of THC for years.

Do you feel a difference when smoking marijuana today as opposed to the marijuana you smoked in the past? Let us know.



  1. spkavyo

    April 12, 2016 at 12:38 pm

    Yes, I use less to get the medical effect I’m looking for. A quarter ounce will last me more than a month, with daily medical use, thanks to my Vapium Summit vaporizer. When you’re using trimmed female flowers as opposed to brick weed a little goes a long way!

  2. Dude

    February 16, 2016 at 1:24 pm

    In other news, the sky is blue and weirdly enough water is wet…

  3. Robert

    February 16, 2016 at 9:02 am

    I use to get potent weed years ago when I was a major stoner I still smoke or vape but not everyday. Back in the day there was really good weed around but it was scarce and not always easy to get. I would rather get high off of a few puffs of good weed than have to smoke a whole joint of crap just to get a little high.I love weed and hate booze don’t even touch booze. I do this in the privacy of my own home so who am I hurting I don’t drive when I am high.I can’t wait to grow my own and if it’s not legal to grow your own it’s not legal . I am 58 and have arthritis and lower back pain and weed works great for pain much better than the crap the doctor tried to feed me I absolutely hate Opiates.

  4. Maddog

    February 15, 2016 at 12:11 pm

    I smoked marijuana from 1973 until 1986. During this time, I obtained my cannabis from cultivation of seeds obtained while in California in the service. Much of the pot I smoked while in the service was a strain known as Maui Wowy from Hawaii. From 1975 to 1986 I grew my own pot in South Dakota. The pot grown in South Dakota was not nearly as strong as the stuff I recently smoked while visiting in Colorado. Two hits of the Colorado weed rendered me stoned beyond anything I had ever experienced before. I think I enjoyed the home grown weed more. I could smoke an entire joint and just get comfortably numb. I enjoy more of a head high than a body high, and the home grown weed provided that. I will continue to try different strains when in Colorado because, at this stage of my life the legality is much more important than it ever used to be. I cannot wait until marijuana for personal use is legal across the entire country. At that point, I will grow my own as it should be.

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