Highly potent marijuana linked to one in four cases
of psychosis according to recent UK study.

A recent study a decade in the making conducted by King’s College in London was just released by the journal Lancet Psychiatry finding that highly potent marijuana (skunk) was attributed to 1 in 4 cases of psychosis and that regular users (at least weekly) of skunk are 3-times more likely to suffer from a psychotic episode than those who have never tried it while daily users are 5-times more likely.

The report determined that the THC concentration or potency of skunk, which was attributed to increased occurrence of psychotic episodes, to be at an average of 16.2%; similar to “Colorado Pot,” which USA Today and 9News found to range from 13-20% and even up to 32%. Yet these samples are far lower than the potency of Colorado concentrates reaching levels of up to 90% THC concentration.

What’s more is that USA Today and 9News also found that the potency levels of the marijuana samples tested did not accurately correspond to the THC labels provided on the packaging. While regulations limit edibles to 100 mg of THC in a single package, the law doesn’t require that the product actually reflect what the label claims. Not only does potency have a direct attribution to prevalence of psychotic episodes, but there are no regulatory protections in place to provide consumers accurate information concerning potency of marijuana products.

Robin Murray, professor of psychiatric research at King’s College and senior researcher for the study concludes that, “we could prevent almost one quarter of cases of psychosis if no-one smoked high potency cannabis. This could save young patients a lot of suffering”.

marijuana ediblesAs these marijuana products become increasingly more potent and commercialized, the risk to Colorado youth will continue to increase. Without meaningful preventative education and youth outreach, the marijuana industry’s message of “safe and natural” pot in so many child friendly options will continue to put marijuana profits before our children’s safety.

Smart Colorado supports the Lancet report’s recommendation that we must raise “awareness among young people of the risks associated with the use of high-potency cannabis,” considering that especially in Colorado, “high potency varieties are becoming much more widely available.”

In line with Lancet’s report, we at Smart Colorado support:
  • Ensuring Coloradans under 21 receive factual information about the demonstrated risks of using marijuana;
  • Ensuring important data is being collected, analyzed and reported and used for policy making decisions;
  • THC Potency limits on all forms of marijuana

For more information regarding the Lancet Report, please refer to the following articles:
2015.02.15 – Strong cannabis causes one in four cases of psychosis: Users three times more likely to have an episode than those who have never tried it
2015.02.16 – BBC ‘Skunk-like cannabis’ increases risk of psychosis, study suggests

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