Scientists investigating the possible dangers of cannabis advise users to choose high CBD cannabis as more countries and states legalize recreational use. We know that the marijuana of today is not the marijuana of 20 or 30 years ago. After all, THC levels have increased by as much as 30%. The non-psychoactive ingredient, CBD, has fallen proportionately.
Recreational weed is grown to provide the highest possible kick or high. This is dangerous, as unaccustomed people might have unpleasant experiences, even ending up in hospital psychiatric wards. The Guardian looked into a report published in The Lancet Psychiatry journal recently.
THC levels are worrying: high CBD cannabis will be safer
There is evidence that higher levels of CBD combat the psychosis-inducing effects of THC and also other negative effects such as memory loss or paranoia. Scientist suggest that growers and breeders should boost CBD levels in cannabis so that recreational users can get their kick, but not be at risk of psychological risk of harm.
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Research lacking? What else is new!
The researchers say it is not always possible to do research on something this controversial. Sometimes, scant evidence has to do. However, they say that it’s safe to say that very high levels of THC are not good and CBD is protective. A study later this year will test if higher levels of CBD will reduce the unwanted effects of THC. The Medical Research Council will fund the research.
If you don’t know how much THC is in there, go slow
It is difficult for people to know what variety of cannabis they are using and how much THC it contains. Cannabis use has doubled in the last four decades, and high potency strains dominate the black market. 50% more Europeans are receiving treatment for cannabis related issues. It is not clear how many of these patients refer themselves, and how many see a doctor or clinic before referral.
Just stop mixing it with tobacco
Mental health lecturer at York University, Ian Hamilton, says Europeans are in the habit of smoking cannabis mixed with tobacco. That’s the greatest health risk to users. He’s less worried about THC.
King’s College London and University College London researchers say it is crucial that health officials explore options to decrease the possible harm from cannabis use. Discouraging people from mixing it with tobacco and suggesting vaporizers would already make a huge difference.
Furthermore, they suggest health intervention by placing a cap on the THC levels in places where cannabis is legal for recreational use, and higher taxes on more potent varieties. They agree that high CBD cannabis with enough THC to produce a high is less risky.
Returning to nature’s way
Will we return to cannabis as nature intended it to be? What this research team is proposing is a return to more natural cannabis products. High CBD cannabis certainly would be safer. If recreational users still want their high, a good cannabinoid balance could save them from unpleasant side-effects.