Today's marijuana is not the same weed that was available when your generation was growing up as teenagers. These days, marijuana carries a much bigger punch.
A new study released in March 2015 found that marijuana today is up to three times more powerful than back in the 1980s.
The research was conducted in Colorado using more than 600 legal marijuana samples provided by recreational retail merchants. Results of the study found that the test samples contained quantities of the chemical that makes people "high" - tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) --of between 20% and 30%. By contrast, the THC levels from marijuana samples tested during the 1980s were all under 10%.
Why the big uptick in the levels of THC in marijuana? The researchers pointed to pot growers crossbreeding different marijuana strains - as users have demanded stronger marijuana -- for the cause of the increase.
Why it matters:
- Cultural acceptance of recreational marijuana use (and specifically within youth culture) is on the rise. Parents should assume that their teenagers will be exposed to marijuana use.
- Teens might be aware of the increase of marijuana potency, but likely do not have any realistic perspective of what more powerful pot means, especially for those teens who have never experimented with marijuana before.
- Parents should take the initiative to discuss marijuana use with their teenagers, to gain insight into the prevailing attitudes and behaviors concerning marijuana among their teen's peers and friends, and to set clear expectations and consequences regarding experimentation and use by their kids.