Study: New ‘Highly Potent’ Form of Cannabis Hits Streets, Could Cause Chaos
Nearly one in four Arizona teens have used a highly potent form of marijuana known as marijuana concentrate that can have even worse effects than super-strength cannabis on forming minds, according to a new study by Arizona State University researchers.
The study found that cannabis use among adolescents was common and also that marijuana concentrates have about three times more THC, the constituent of marijuana that causes the “high,” than a traditional marijuana flower.
This is concerning because higher doses of THC have been linked to increased risk of marijuana addiction, cognitive impairment and psychosis.
The research team also found that teens who used concentrates had more risk factors for addiction.
The researchers compared teens who had used marijuana concentrates with teens who had used some form of marijuana but not marijuana concentrates and teens who had never used any form of marijuana on known risk factors for addiction, such as lower perceived risk of harm of marijuana, peer substance use, parental substance use, academic failure and greater perceived availability of drugs in the community.
They found that teens who had used marijuana concentrates were worse off on every addiction risk factor.
“This is important because it shows that teens who have a diverse array of risk factors for developing marijuana addiction may be further amplifying their risk for addiction by using high-THC marijuana concentrates,” explained study co-author, Dustin Pardini, an associate professor in ASU’s School of Criminology & Criminal Justice.
Marijuana concentrates don’t look like the traditional marijuana flower. Concentrates can look like wax, oil, or a brittle substance that shatters easily.
“What concerns me most is that parents might have no idea that their child is using marijuana, especially if their child is using marijuana concentrate,” said Meier.
“Marijuana is not harmless, particularly for adolescents,” he added.
Meier’s earlier research suggests that frequent marijuana use from adolescence through adulthood is associated with IQ decline.
Pardini’s prior research has linked regular marijuana use during adolescence with the emergence of persistent subclinical psychotic symptoms.
The researchers’ next steps are to ascertain if concentrate users do in fact exhibit higher rates of addiction, cognitive impairment and psychosis.