Even though it’s tough to track THC content as years slip by, it’s becoming clear that today’s cannabis isn’t what it used to be. Pot today is stronger than ever before, with some researchers concluding that THC levels could be up to 5 times what they were just three or four decades ago.
Some Research Shows Cannabis to be “At Least 5 Times as Strong” As it Was 40 Years Ago
According to John Hopfer, University of Colorado psychiatry professor, there are some legal marijuana states that are distributing cannabis that is “at least five times as strong” as it was 40 years ago. He’s currently leading the largest cannabis analysis study to date, and his research has him visiting dispensaries across the state of Colorado.
Hopfer found that several dispensaries throughout Colorado are selling cannabis with THC levels as high as 25 percent. With some of the strongest strains pushing up to 30 percent THC, the pot that’s sold today is far beyond what was being smoked in decades of days gone by.
“It used to be 2-5 percent,” says Hopfer. “So, this stuff is potent.”
Other Studies Show THC Content to Have Tripled
A recent study shows that since 1995, the THC content in cannabis has tripled. Researchers from the University of Mississippi looked at 39,000 samples of marijuana that had been seized by the DEA in various raids across the country. Where samples from 1995 showed THC levels to be right about 4 percent, by 2014 they were around 12 percent.
There are however, some variables to take into consideration. THC content degrades over time, especially when it isn’t properly stored. There’s also the fact that its very difficult for researchers to gauge whether people today are using more frequently…and if they are, by how much.
Several Studies Show Weed Today is Stronger than Ever
There have been several studies though, that all point to the notion that pot today is stronger than ever. In 2015 for example, research conducted by Charas Scientific, a Colorado marijuana testing facility, showed “a big increase in marijuana potency compared to where it was 20 or 30 years ago.”
According to lab founder and research director Andy LaFrate, “I would say the average potency of marijuana has probably increased of a factor of at least three. We’re looking at average potencies right now of around 20 percent THC.”
The National Institute on Drug Abuse even agrees. They say that the potency of pot has been steadily increasing over the past few decades. And while they haven’t weighed in on strains that top 20 percent, 2012 data showed the average THC content across the country was right around 15 percent.
That was over 5 years ago. As marijuana legalization has continued to sweep the nation, the potency of pot has only increased. With massive amounts of information now available, growers know more than ever about the best methods for growing, as well as the chemistry of the plant. Strains can now be manipulated to breed higher contents of THC, something many cannabis consumers have come to expect.
It’s clear that today’s pot is stronger, but in order to really understand how and why, more research will undoubtedly need to take place.
If you’re someone who’s been smoking pot since the 70s, 80s, and 90s, we’d LOVE to hear your thoughts about how the potency of pot has changed over time.