A few weeks back I read the opinion of a Stanford Professor in the Washington Post talking about states needing to limit the potency of cannabis.
He argues that over the years the potency of cannabis has been on the rise as was found by a Dutch Study on the particular subject. Since the early 2000s, where weed was typically in the 8.6-10% THC till 2004, where the median strain had roughly 20+% THC, there has been a steady rise of potency due to better cultivation tactics over the years.
According to the professor, this resulted in a higher number of people going in for “treatment”. When the Dutch limited THC potency back to 15%, there was a decline in people seeking treatment.
Now it’s important to note what “treatment” he’s referring to; Marijuana Use Disorder. The higher potency strains didn’t send people to the ER, they went to seek treatment. However, it also begs to question whether they “sought” treatment or whether they were “forced” treatment. These are important questions when looking at the big picture.
The rest of his opinion piece talks about how the States has no regulation and that potency is sky high. And in those regards, he’s 100% correct Growers have been trying to ‘out-THC’ the competition and designer strains are coming onto the market with insane THC levels. The question however is; Is more THC a bad thing?
The Case for Higher Potencies
When the good professor spoke about “Treatment” he was referring to “rehab” for smoking weed. Now, I’ve been smoking weed for more than twenty years, and have taken long breaks (sometimes for a year or two) with no problem. Perhaps the first day of not smoking weed can be ‘irritable’ but it’s no different than not having coffee in the morning. It’s not like you’re going to jack granny for her pearls and pawn it for reefer.
I’m not saying that some people can’t have a problem with weed. During my 20+ years of smoking I have come across a number of people who “should not smoke weed”.
But does this mean that we need to limit the potency of weed to protect a few people when the vast majority of society is okay with the way things are?
No, it means we need to educate the population.
If you were to limit the potency of weed a few things might happen:
- You’d create a grey-market for high potency strains that would inflate the price of those strains significantly, meaning more profitability for the criminal element.
- You’d limit the research in high potency cannabis products for things like Cancer and other harsh conditions. You’re trying to limit potency yet the government still hasn’t accepted that cannabis has medical value, meaning no medical research in high potency cannabis. You really want to close the door to potential treatment based on the irrational fear that “some people won’t be able to handle their shit?”
- You infringe on the liberties of others. Perhaps you can’t handle it, but is that enough reason to limit my ability to do so?
- You keep the consumer market stupid. By not allowing people to push the bounds, you limit innovation and you “nerf” reality because you assume that the individual consumer is a complete idiot who don’t know when to stop. Here’s one thing I’ve learned from smoking weed for more than two decades…the older you get, the smarter you consume. Hell, I consume way less than I did when I was a teenager.
- You force people to consume more marijuana. Lowering THC means people need to smoke more to get the same effect. If someone wants to get so blazed they can’t move…they are going to do it irrespective of the potency. They will just consume more quantity.
- You see, the reason I smoke less today than I did when I was a teen is because weed is much stronger. Where before I had to smoke a half a joint to get high, today I smoke a hit or two and I’m golden. No need to stink up the house with a phatty, no need stink up my fingers. A quick hit or two does the trick. And this is due to higher potency.
Furthermore, it makes more sense to me economically. While the cost per gram is higher, my rate of consumption is way lower…meaning a few grams can last me a week. Whereas I’d need an ounce of shwag, which will make me feel like shit and not get me to my desired state.
Thus, potency isn’t the problem. Education of the consumer market is what needs to change. The world is still a teenager when it comes to pot. They want to smoke it as much as they can because it’s new and paradigm shifting.