The long and short of it is that marijuana is in fact stronger than it use to be.  And, there’s actually data to back statement up.


Is Marijuana (Cannabis) Stronger than it Used to be IN THE UNITED STATES?

During the 1960s and 1970s, an average joint contained about 10 mg of THC. Today, a joint of the same size may contain 60 to 150 mg of THC.

And, to get even more specific, let’s take a look at a year by year breakdown of the average THC concentration in marijuana products seized by the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) between 1995 and 2014.  You’ll notice that the overall potency of THC has gone up from an average of 4% back in 1995 to approximately 12% in 2014.


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What are the consequences of this substantial increase in the potency of cannabis?

Basically, it exposes cannabis users to many, many times a greater dose of THC compared to their counterparts in the 1960s and 1970s. And, this is an important fact because the adverse or toxic effects of THC are dose-related.

Now, this particular study also gave a year by year breakdown of the average CBD concentration in the marijuana confiscated by the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration).  And, what you’ll notice is that the average concentration of CBD fell from about 0.28% back in 2001 all the way down to less than 0.15% in 2014.


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Now, what’s important to keep in mind is that these samples are representative of what’s on the black market.  What’s not represented in this data are the concentrations of THC and CBD in products sold at dispensaries located in states where marijuana is now legal for either recreational or medical use.


Is Marijuana (Cannabis) Stronger than it Used to be IN THE WORLD?

It’s not just happening in the United States, but it’s really a world-wide phenomenon.  So let’s take a closer look at what’s going on in the Netherlands.  Before the tides started to turn in the United States, it was really the Netherlands that was infamously known for it’s coffee-shops that sell marijuana.

So a group of researchers carefully monitored the potency of cannabis products sold via coffee-shops since 1999.

They found that between 2000 and 2005 the average percentage of THC in marijuana as sold in Dutch coffeeshops has increased dramatically – from 8.5% in 1999 to more than 20% in 2004.

They decided to continue to look at the changes in cannabinoid content in the cannabis products even beyond 2005.

So, each year from 2005 to 2015, the researchers went around from coffee-shop to coffee-shop collecting samples.  In all, they collected 2,126 samples from 541 different coffee-shops.

And, overall, over the years, they found the highest THC concentration to hovered at around 30% and the lowest THC concentration was around 5 to 10%.

And, when it came to CBD, most of the products had less than 0.5%.


Why has marijuana gotten stronger over the years?

There’re a couple reasons for this phenomenon, including,

  • genetic experimentation,
  • cross-breeding,
  • enhanced availability of seeds from the more potent cultivars, and
  • improvements in indoor hydroponic cultivation and harvesting techniques

Alright, there you have it – an answer to the question – Is Marijuana (Cannabis) Stronger than it Used to be?





Research Referenced: