Study: Marijuana is becoming more powerful

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CENTER CITY, Minn. New research is raising concerns about the increasing potency of marijuana and the new ways it is being used, the Hazelden Betty Ford Institute for Recovery Advocacy reported.

“As debates continue over legalizing and regulating marijuana, ever-expanding access and demand may be leading to stronger marijuana, with greater potential for negative health consequences,” said Hazelden Betty Ford Institute vice president Nick Motu.

The organization reported that several recent studies show rising potencies, a new method of consumption called “dabbing,” and the use of synthetic marijuana as areas of concern.

“It’s economics,” said Dr. Joseph Lee, medical director of the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation’s Youth Continuum. “No matter what the consumable substance is, there will always be a demand for bigger, better, faster, and more. This is true for caffeinated beverages and alcohol. It’s also true for marijuana. Potency is one differentiator in a capitalistic marketplace.”

But despite the health consequences that come from using higher potency marijuana, dabbing and synthetics, the percentage of adults and adolescents who believe regular marijuana use poses no risk tripled from five percent in 2004 to 15.3 percent in 2014, the report said.

“Recent research highlighting the dramatic increase in marijuana potency is concerning given what is known about the possible negative effects of cannabis on cognitive functioning and mental health,” said Dr. Amelia Arria, associate professor and director of the Center on Young Adult Health and Development at the University of Maryland School of Public Health.

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