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article imageMarijuana Is Getting Stronger, Does That Mean You Can Get Hooked On It?

By KJ Mullins     Jun 12, 2008 in Health
In the past year, marijuana's potency has increased to the highest levels the happy herb has seen in the past 30 years. According to the White House, that may mean it's not as harmless as it used to be.
The psychoactive ingredient THC in marijuana has been monitored in batches from 1975 to 2007 by the University of Mississippi's Potency Monitoring Project. The samples are from drugs seized by law enforcement agents. The THC level found in the 2007 samples reached 9.6 percent, compared to just the prior year's 8.75 percent levels.
In 1983 the THC levels were at about 4 percent so the 2007 samples showed a huge increase. The question now is does that increase make for greater health concern issues. The White House says that it does.
"Today's report makes it more important than ever that we get past outdated, anachronistic views of marijuana," said John Walters, director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.
The fear is that the parents of today underestimate the drugs effects for their children, after all many of those parents are baby boomers who did breath in during their youth.
Marijuana potency has grown steeply over the past decade, with serious implications in particular for young people," Walters said. He cited the risk of psychological, cognitive and respiratory problems, and the potential for users to become dependent on drugs such as cocaine and heroin.
The increases to the potency in marijuana appears to be that the growers are getting more sophisticated in both the United States and in Canada believes those in the government.
a report out from the white House office last month stated that teens who are depressed are twice as likely to use marijuana than teens that aren't experiencing depression. the study also stated that the use of the herb could increase the risk of developing mental disorders by 40 percent.
"The increases in marijuana potency are of concern since they increase the likelihood of acute toxicity, including mental impairment," said Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, which funded the University of Mississippi study.
"Particularly worrisome is the possibility that the more potent THC might be more effective at triggering the changes in the brain that can lead to addiction," Volkow said.
Dr. Mitch Earleywine, who teaches psychology at the State University of New York in Albany and serves as an adviser for marijuana advocacy groups though says that there is no evidence that one can become addicted to marijuana. While food cravings are common having to have a hit is not something that is a problem.
"Mild irritability, craving for marijuana and decreased appetite — I mean those are laughable when you talk about withdrawal from a drug. Caffeine is worse."
More about Marijuana, Thc, White house
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