In case you have't realized by now, the marijuana of today is a lot different from the schwag weed that your parents used to smoke out of their bong, while listening to Jimmy Hendrix in the 70's. Nothing against Jimmy by the way. We've all heard from various sources that the weed of today, just isn't the same as it was from yesteryear's. Whether it's been for better or worse, there's no denying that the Cheech and Chong chronic, doesn't even come close to the top shelf you pick up at your local dispensary nowadays.
Now, a new study testing the THC percentages of legalized weed in Colorado confirms this sentiment. Results from the study indicate that the standardized marijuana that you buy today at your neighborhood dispensary, can carry a THC potency of at least 30%, while the weed consumed from back in the day, typically had less than 10% potency.
Despite marijuana being three times as strong as 80's schwag, the study showed that Cannabidiol, the compound that makes marijuana medical and effective in treating conditions such as depression and intense pain, has actually decreased over time. Whether or not this information is 100% accurate is one thing, but denying the potency of marijuana today compared to strains of the past is simply misguided.
Charas Scientific, the laboratory responsible for conducting the tests, attributed the increased THC concentrations to the process of cross-breeding strains by marijuana growers for higher potency levels. The cross-breeding of strains also opens up theory for why CBD levels are so low in today's pot.
"That was somewhat of a surprise. Much more potent strain and less of the medical part," said CBS News medical contributor Dr. David Argus. When describing the possible medical use of CBD, the doctor went on to state, I hope more studies are done, but certainly we have to standardize and put CBD in there to make sure the studies have the benefit."
On top of testing for THC potency and CBD levels, the testing also had some unexpected finds concerning weed contamination. Although mandatory contaminant testing is required in Washington state, which only recently legalized recreational marijuana, the same testing in Colorado is not required. Marijuana from both states were analyzed by doctors and the findings weren't pretty.
"It's pretty startling just how dirty a lot of the stuff is, " said the director and founder of research at Charas Scientific's lab, Andy Lafrete, Ph.D. to CBS News. Some plants turned out to be harboring fungus, bacteria or traces of heavy metals".
It's a natural product," said Lafrete to CBS. "There's going to be microbial growth on it no matter what you do. So the questions become: What's the safe threshold? And which contaminants do we need to be concerned about?"
All doctors involved in the study agreed that continued research must be done in order to combat, not only the effects of contaminated marijuana as more states begin to legalize, but also THC levels, in their relation to CBD and marijuana's overall medical value.