Through the help of cannabis advocates and pioneers, those born in the new millennium are now witnessing the invigorating transition of marijuana usage both medical and recreational. This little plant has come a long way and is now legal in more than 29 states in the USA, five of which are recreational. Cannabis supporters can now celebrate marijuana day with realistic hopes that cannabis becomes legal in their state or country.
Over the last 20 years or so there has been an intense debate on whether marijuana is stronger today than it was some years ago. With cross breading of plants on the black market, THC has intentionally been made more potent by many growers which has given the plant additional controversy amongst anti-legalization groups.
Those opposing the legalization of marijuana share the unfounded belief that the increased growth of marijuana usage causes a bigger problem to societal health than it did previously, and stronger plants contribute to this position.
But those in support of legalization share the opinion that stronger cannabis means that one needs to use less and thus creates a safer overall experience. Marijuana advocates also believe that the standards of production are higher and methods of consuming marijuana are safer, so there is nothing to worry about when it comes to stronger plants.
Cannabis cultivators are now growing strains that are much stronger than naturally growing plants. These marijuana seeds are grown under the best lighting and nutritional conditions to help increase their potency and quality.
Some marijuana cultivators have grown strains that have up to 24% THC in them, which makes for a very potent plant and ability to use a smaller dose to get the desired effects. Part of the reason this is achievable is due to further innovations in artificial lighting systems and hydroponics. These new technologies and techniques have allowed farmers to achieve bountiful harvests faster and more efficiently.
A study titled “Changes in Cannabis Potency Over the Last 2 Decades” which was published in the Journal of Biological Psychiatry concluded that marijuana is without a doubt getting stronger from generation to generation. The results were generated via researchers use capillary gas chromatography to determine the relative content of THC.
The recent legalization of cannabis has changed the way consumers and now state regulators are approaching the products. There are now a set of strict standards that must be met by growers and retailers to get their product to market, as well as hefty state taxes that are passed on to the consumer. This rise is price and growing standards has also affected the buyer who now also demands a higher quality product in this new and more transparent marketplace. Just like alcohol and other consumer packaged goods, cannabis is now in an open and competitive consumer market and buyers are a lot more demanding this time around.
In 1995, the percentage of marijuana sold that had a THC content that was higher than normal was just 4%. But in 2014, it had increased to 12%. This shows that the potency of marijuana has increased by 300% over the last 20 years. Live Science reported that the researchers evaluated about 38,600 samples of illegal weed collected by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration over 20 years. The marijuana they studied was in the form of hash oil, hashish and plant form.
Strong cannabis is what many consumers want these days and the black market saw this coming and started to adapt. As we progress into the future of legal cannabis it will interesting to see how regulators and growers begin to craft different products to meet an even more diverse group of customers.
From insanely strong products like shatter and various distillates to the more mellow flower of days gone by, there is now a market for all potencies and cannabinoid mixtures, and it's only getting more diverse.