So My Child is Smoking Marijuana. Is It Harmful?
At the New Jersey Family and Addiction Institute in Morris County we work with a lot of high school students and young adults. Frequently parents contact us when their child is smoking marijuana and they are unsure of what to do.
Commonly parents are fearful but rationalize the harmful effects by saying “I smoked weed as a teen and I turned out okay.” While this seems like a logical thought below we outline why it is not necessarily accurate. Now we realize that for many parents they experience this thought because they are full of worry about their child and they are trying to rationalize away the fears they have. Simply put marijuana today is different than in decades past.
Weed Today Stronger Than It Used to Be?
Christian Hopfer, a professor of psychiatry from the University of Colorado’s medical campus set out to answer that exact question. During the course of his research he went around to different marijuana dispensaries to look study the potency of the marijuana.
Officials measure Marijuana’s by its tetrahydrocannabinol content (THC). This is the ingredient that causes the “high” feeling that smoking marijuana produces. The chart below shows the THC levels from 1983 up until 2010.
Between the 1960s and 1996 marijuana had about a 4% THC content. Then marijuana started to be engineered to be stronger and more potent. By 2011 it was up to 11%. Recently Christian Hopfer found in his visits to various dispensaries recently that the THC content was up to 25%.
The marijuana Christian found is 625% stronger than marijuana from the 1960s through 1996.
Simply put the marijuana today is not the marijuana that parents grew up smoking. Marijuana today is much stronger than the marijuana of years past. It only resembles marijuana in name and in form (and only sometimes).
Marijuana vs. Dabs
Dabs, also known as butane hash oil (BHO), is a really potent form of marijuana that resembles honey. This concentrated form of marijuana has THC contents that range between 60-90%. Highly specialized dabs can have THC contents that approach 100%. With an average THC content of 80% dabs are 20 times stronger than the marijuana available when adults were teenagers.
What Do I Do if a Loved One is Smoking Marijuana?
Marijuana today hardly resembles marijuana from the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s. Today weed is much stronger. Recent advancements in increasing the THC content have far eclipsed studies on the effects of today’s super strong marijuana. Researchers are still studying the long-term impacts of using such strong marijuana. If you or a loved one is struggling with marijuana please reach out to us at the New Jersey Family and Addiction Institute. We are happy to provide whatever assistance we can. For parents who have children that have been experimenting with marijuana please realize that this is not harmless behavior. Seek out further information and seek consultation with mental health professionals.