The number of teens that use marijuana concentrates – cannabis in high potent forms – is growing steadily. These marijuana concentrates have THC levels (a psychoactive compound in the drug) that range from 40% to 80%. These have potentially very negative side effects for the body.
A new study shows that a high numbers of teenagers are now using marijuana concentrates and putting themselves at higher risk of harmful side effects. Normal cannabis plants have a THC level of just around 20% in comparison.
A growing number of teens trying marijuana concentrates
The study was published in the journal Pediatrics. It considered data of around 50,000 8th, 10th and 12th graders from schools. These teenagers had taken part in the Arizona Youth Survey.
Of these participants, 33% had used marijuana, and 24% had used marijuana concentrate in some form.
The marijuana concentrate appears to be like honey or butter, sometimes called “honey oil.” This is often used to make edibles or occasionally smoked used pipes or water. It can also be used in a vaporizer and inhaled.
The usage of marijuana concentrate was highest among the 12th graders; about 32.9% of them used it. It was more common in girls or amongst students whose parents did not have high school diplomas.
These students were also smokers, using e-cigarettes and other substances. The parents of these users also had a more relaxed approach to drugs.
The authors of the study worried that the ease of access to and growing use of marijuana concentrate was on the rise. It increased the risk of teenagers developing cannabis use disorder, psychosis, or cognitive impairment.
Daniele Piomelli, Ph.D., director of the UCI Center of the Study of Cannabis at the University of California Irvine, shared her comments even though she did not work on the study with the other investigators. She said that it is hard to discern why so many teenagers are turning towards marijuana concentrate.
It is also straying far from the tradition that began in the 1970s where people would use very low THC cannabis.
Marijuana concentrate’s doses and effects
Due to high THC levels, the psychological and physical effects of the concentrate are much higher than regular cannabis.
However, it depends on how big the dose is, like all other drugs. Professionals say that large doses of the concentrate taken regularly can have detrimental effects.
Currently, it’s hard to discern exactly where the line between beneficial and harmful is in cannabis use.
An overdose is more likely when it comes to marijuana concentrate, and also an increased risk of toxicity.
Doctors have reported cases of users developing heart and brain issues. Psychosis is also probable. All of these health issues can be linked back to high THC levels.
Longterm effects of marijuana on health is still unknown. Theories exist on cognitive decline, cannabis dependence, or psychosis being a long term effect of marijuana usage. More research needs to be done on the topic, especially since the use of this drug is growing with time.