Talking THC, cannabis contains at least 400 different chemicals, its main mind-altering ingredient is THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol). The amount of THC in marijuana determines the drug’s strength. THC levels are affected by a great many factors, including plant type, weather, soil, and time of harvest. It is widely believed that the sophisticated cannabis cultivation of today, specifically the use of hydroponics, produces higher levels of THC and therefore marijuana that is far more potent than the drug in the past.
Whether marijuana is more potent today than it was 30 or 40 years ago is at the center of much debate. Some information has been released indicating that the levels of potency may have risen as much as 10 to 25 times since the 1960’s. However is this myth or reality? What is true is that kids today now have a wider range of potency available than was available back in the 1960’s, 70’s & 80’s. With such a wide ranges in strengths available it is unlikely that the user is aware of the strength of their marijuana which can be risky. “Cannabis is native to tropical and temperate climates, but is cultivated around the world. Modern illegal growing operations use sophisticated methods to produce high-potency marijuana..” Center for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) If you find your child with marijuana it will likely be in the form of crushed up leaves or seeds ready to roll into cigarettes, or the hand-rolled cigarettes themselves.
This is the way that the most teens would use weed, by cutting or crushing the leaves or buds so that it can be rolled into the cigarette papers, also known as joints. Hashish, a resin from the Cannabis plant, is another form of drug. It is usually produced in blocks and its color can be dark brown to black. Use of a pipe also tends to be a widely used way of smoking the substance. Several factors are involved in determining the potency of the drug including: how it was grown – marijuana today is often produced using sophisticated growing techniques such as hydroponics the genetic makeup of the plant the amounts of flower parts, leaves, stems, and seeds The form in which drug is used will also have an impact on the THC level – THC occurs naturally in the marijuana plant in ranges of 0.5–3%. The form of marijuana known as sinsemilla (female derivative) can have a THC content of up to 17%. In hash it is commonly accepted that THC levels range from 5%-15%. Hash oil generally contains 10% to 20% but concentrations of THC as high as 70% have been reported. It is generally considered the most concentrated form of the drug.
When the plant is harvested also has a significant effect on the amount of THC. As a cannabis plant matures, its chemical composition changes. During early development, cannabidiolic acid is the most prevalent chemical. Later, cannabidiolic acid is converted to cannabidiol, which is later converted to THC when the plant reaches its floral maturation. Marijuana with stronger concentrations of THC produces stronger effects on the brain. When a person smokes marijuana, the active ingredient THC travels quickly to the brain and binds to receptors, some of which are concentrated in areas within the reward system of the brain. This produces the drug’s psychotropic effects on the brain, temporarily affecting the way a person thinks, acts and feels. Why can drug tests for Marijuana use give a positive result long after the effect of the drug has worn off? Because THC is fat soluble. This means that in order for the body to break down the THC it has to dissolve in fat. This process takes more time than substances that break down in water. If someone uses marijuana again before the body has had the time it needs to break down the THC (3 days) the THC begins to build up in the fat tissue and the body never has the chance to clear out the THC entirely.
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