Cannabis is often thought to be less harmful than other drugs. But is that true? Some waxes, oils, and syrups have dangerously high THC levels–close to 100%. But since cannabis is thought to be safer than other types of drugs, these products are often unregulated.
For perspective, a high dose of THC is considered 15% or over. Back in the 60s, 70s, and 80s, the average THC content was not even 2%.
High doses of cannabis can lead to addiction, poor memory, vomiting, psychosis, a permanent psychiatric disorder, and suicide.
Weed is the number one drug used by elementary and high school students, so many parents may have the additional concern of their child using cannabis and being inadver
tently exposed to such dangerous levels.
With THC levels being so high and often unregulated, how can you (or your loved ones) stay safe while consuming?
Understand safe dosages.
A standard unit of THC is 5mg. Suggested recommendations vary, but some experts recommend starting with 2.5mg of THC and to not exceed 40mg of THC in 24 hours.
Recognize that dosages vary
The amount of THC concentrated in various products varies widely, and some products have been shown to report containing less THC than they do. Research your favorite products to ensure they are communicating their THC levels accurately.
Since dosages and strengths vary, start small! You can always consume more, but you can’t un-consume once you have.
Make sure marijuana is safe with your current medications or medical condition
Some medications that are affected negatively by THC include blood thinners and anxiety medications.
Some medical conditions, like pregnancy, also carry risks for users.
Don’t mix drugs
Using THC with other drugs increases your chance of ill effects. It may worsen physical or mental symptoms. It also increases your risk for poor decision making and your likelihood of getting hurt or overdoing it.
If your loved one is under 18, discuss THC’s neurological impact.
Consuming THC affects how the brain develops, affecting attention spans, ability to learn, and memory. These effects can be short-term, or they can be permanent.
For parents who are worried about their children using weed, having a frank and educated conversation about the actual biological effects of weed can be a much better approach than using misinformation (which will damage your credibility with your child) or scare tactics (which will encourage them to not come to you with questions or concerns).
Educate yourself on the risk of psychosis
“Cannabis-induced bipolar disorder” is a new disorder that, with the advent of dangerously high THC levels, medical experts are beginning to see become much more common.
According to a study published in Psychiatry, “Clinicians agree that cannabis use can cause acute adverse mental effects that mimic psychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.” These include psychotic breakdowns and mania.
There seems to be some indications that the risk of psychosis and mania are far more likely with younger people.
Don’t drive high
You can actually get a DUI if you have active THC in your system. Make sure you’re sobered up before you drive, or have a buddy drive you home.
Perhaps psychosis, neurological impact, and DUIs are not what you want to think about when you just want to enjoy an edible with a friend. But being educated about the risks and consequences of your decision will better prepare you to make safe choices for yourself and your loved ones.