Cannabis potency has spiked in recent years and is linked with more people becoming addicted, according to a new study in Lancet Psychiatry.

People who use higher concentrations of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, are more likely to have addiction and mental health problems, the study authors found.

For research, scientists have established a “standard THC unit” as 5 milligrams of THC, which produces a mild intoxication for non-regular users. Low-potency products are 5 to 10 milligrams per gram of THC, the researchers said. Read more here.

A Yearly Rise in Cannabis Potency

“One of the highest quality studies included in our publication found that use of high potency cannabis, compared to low potency cannabis, was linked to a four-fold increased risk of addiction,” said study coauthor Tom Freeman, a senior lecturer in the department of psychology and director of the addiction and mental health group at the University of Bath in the United Kingdom, in an email. In the United States, about 3 in 10 people who use marijuana have cannabis use disorder, the medical term for marijuana addiction, according to the US Centers for Disease and Prevention.

In a gram of herbal cannabis, the dried and harvested tops of female marijuana plants that are typically smoked, THC concentrations increased by approximately 2.9 milligrams each year, according to a 2020 study by Freeman and his team at the University of Bath. In cannabis resin, the sticky brown sap on the plant from which extracts and concentrations are made, THC levels increased by approximately 5.7 milligrams each year from 1975 to 2017, the study found. Concentrated products can reach extremely high levels of THC. Read more here.

US Senate Holds Hearing on Marijuana Legalization Bill

The U.S. Senate on Tuesday held a committee hearing on marijuana legalization for the first time in the chamber’s history but took no action.

The hearing – held by the Subcommittee on Criminal Justice and Counterterrorism – comes on the heels of last week’s introduction of the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act (CAOA). Read more here.