A new study published in the journal Addiction has examined the way cannabis consumers determine the potency of cannabis, and how much they use when rolling joints.
Researchers from the Clinical Psychopharmacology Unit of the University College London, and the Department of Psychology from the College of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Exeter, examined a group of 247 cannabis consumers in the United Kingdom – 152 were considered “recreational” users, consuming cannabis 1–24 days each month, and 95 were recorded as “daily” users, consuming cannabis 25 days or more out of the month.
Participants of the study rated the potency of their own cannabis on a scale of 1-10, and recorded the type of cannabis using the options “resin”, “herbal” and “skunk”, before smoking in front of the researchers. The amount of cannabis used in their joints was recorded, and an additional sample of each participant’s bud was analyzed for THC and CBD concentrations.
Researchers determined THC concentrations were related negatively to the amount of cannabis used; the more THC the cannabis contained, the less of it participants rolled in their joints. Potency estimates were predicted by increasing THC and decreasing CBD contents (cannabis consumers consistently ranked bud with more THC and less CBD as more potent), and the potency estimates based on THC levels increased as frequency of use increased. Daily cannabis users were 7.3 times more likely to rank bud potency based on THC content.
The study concludes that, “When using their own cannabis in a naturalistic setting, people titrate the amount they roll in joints according to concentrations of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) but not cannabidiol (CBD). Recreational users,” or occasional smokers, “show poor understanding of cannabis potency.”