Cannabis strength and health – who cares about evidence?

The dust is now settling in the UK mass media ‘debate’ surrounding cannabis strength and health. Prohibitionists have got their way with the re-re-classification to Class B, putting the drug on a par with lethal substances such as amphetamines and barbiturates. But scientific experts and other commentators, myself among them, won the argument by blowing the hysterical reefer madness arguments out of the water. So much for evidence and rational discourse.

Media attention has since moved onto other matters, but research into cannabis use and health continues. Take, for example, a study by Australian researchers published in the journal Addiction.

In their article, Jennifer McLaren, Wendy Swift, Paul Dillon and Steve Allsop discuss the rise in THC levels found in cannabis. The authors note that this increase is restricted to the United States, Netherlands, Britain and Italy, and that THC percentages have levelled off since 2004. There is also to be found a wide variation in THC levels between samples of cannabis sold as “skunk”, and smokers moderate their intake according to product strength.