The Cannabis You’re Smoking May Be A Lot Stronger Than You Think

Cannabis is the latest in a series of drugs found to be a lot stronger than users realise...

The Cannabis Your Smoking May Be A Lot Stronger Than You Think

by Georgia Aspinall |
Updated on

Highly-potent strains of cannabis are dominating the drug market in Britain, according to researchers. In a sample of almost 1000 police seizures across London, Kent, Derbyshire, Merseyside and Sussex, the vast majority of cannabis was super-strength sinsemilla, also known as skunk.

In 2005, the proportion of confiscations of skunk was just over half, versus 94% in 2016, leading to the conclusion that the majority of cannabis on offer is the super-strength strain, which is considered high risk for mental health problems.

The news comes after a wave of similarly worrying revelations about other drugs, such as MDMA and cocaine, where users are seemingly unaware of the growing strength of the drug they're taking.

Skunk has a higher level of THC than other strains of cannabis, which is a psychoactive ingredient that can cause psychotic episodes and the development of psychotic disorders. Essentially, it’s highly dangerous to smoke it in the same way you would smoke a less potent strain of weed. Dr. Marta Di Forti, a Medical Research Council clinician scientist at King’s college London, told Sky News:

‘In previous research, we have shown that regular users of high-potency cannabis carry the highest risk for psychotic disorders, compared to those who have never used cannabis.

‘The increase of high-potency cannabis on the streets poses a significant hazard to users' mental health, and reduces their ability to choose more benign types.’

But why has the proportion of cannabis seizures being skunk gone up so much? According to the study, it’s because weaker cannabis resin is less available, reducing from 43% in 2005 to 6% in 2016.

While the average concentration of THC stayed the same in sinsemilla from 2005 to 2016, it rose from 4% to 6% in resin over the same period. Experts are therefore warning about the possible mental health impacts, with Marta calling for greater education on the different strains of cannabis people can buy. She continued:

‘More attention, effort and funding should be given to public education on the different types of street cannabis and their potential hazards,

‘Public education is the most powerful tool to succeed in primary prevention, as the work done on tobacco use has proven.’

While long-term cannabis use is reportedly on the decline, is it still the most commonly used drug across England and Wales, with 2.2 million people using it in the past year.

Click through to see The Debrief's best natural anti-depressants...


Discover: Natural Anti Depressants

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Omega 3

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential minerals which reduce inflammation and are vital to brain functions such as mood and memory. Your body doesn't produce them naturally so you can only get them in you via food (like fish, nuts and seeds) or dietary supplements.

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Vitamin D

In addition to bone health, Vitamin D can play a vital role in the areas of the brain that are linked to the development of depression and other mental health problems.

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S Adenosylemthionine

SAMeis a molecule that the body naturally forms and is available as a dietary supplement. In addition to depression and anxiety, it can be used for many other conditions including heart disease, fibromyalgia, tendonitis and many more. It is also recommended for PMS. It works by making sure that chemicals in the body that play a role in pain, depression, liver disease, and other conditions, actually do their job.

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5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP)

Like SAMe,5-HTP is also a chemical (an essential amino acid) that the body makes naturally. It works by helping to raise the serotonin (the happy hormone) levels in the brain. 5-HTP has been known to have a positive effect on sleep, mood, anxiety, appetite, and pain.

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Roseroot Herb

A study conducted on whether the Rhodiola Rosea (Roseroot) herb was effective for depression showed that it was almost as effective as the popular antidepressant, Sertraline (Zoloft), but with fewer side effects. The herb boasts strengthening the nervous system, fighting depression, enhancing the immune system and memory, elevating stamina, aiding in weight-loss and increasing sexual function.

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A lot of adults, especially women, suffer from iron deficiency, and guess what? Iron deficiency symptoms are pretty similar to depression symptoms, i.e. fatigue, irritability, and foggy brain. The recommended daily iron allowance in adults is roughly 8 to 18 mg daily (check with your doctor though because everyone's number is different).

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If you don't have enough folate, antidepressants may not work. Some docs prescribe folate along with antidepressants to treat depression and improve the effectiveness the medication. Most adults need at least 0.4mg daily, which you can though food including dark leafy greens, beans and citrus fruit, or as a supplement.

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Vitamin B-12 and other B vitamins can play a role in producing mood-affecting brain chemicals and low levels of these may be linked to depression. If you have a poor diet and the body can not absorb enough B vits, your mood can be severely affected. Getting a blood test will determine how much of the B goodness you have in your system, and whether you need to stock up. B vitamins are found in animal products like milk, fish, meat and eggs, so if you are a vegan, you should definitely be getting your B's from dietary supplements and vitamins.

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Zinc is crucial to our system as it activates our digestive enzymes breaking down food, and helps prevent food allergies, which can avert depression. It also helps our DNA to produce and repair proteins, control inflammation and boost our immune system.

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Tryptophan is an essential amino acid which you get through food such as bananas, tamarind, oats, sesame seeds, kiwi and watermelon. Once in the body, it converts to niacin, serotonin and melatonin. Most antidepressants work by increasing the amount of serotonin in the brain and Tryptophan helps to increase serotonin levelswithout the extreme side effects of meds.

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St John Wort

St John's Wort has been around for yonks and is one of the most popular natural methods used for dealing with stress, anxiety and depression. It's a plant with yellow flowers. There has been some scientific evidence that St. John's wort may be helpful in treating mild depression. It's been claimed that it works just like regular antidepressants in that it inhibits the reuptake of the neurotransmitters serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine.

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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