Researchers from the UK's top universities believe that a grading system for the potency of cannabis will better the mental health of consumers.
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According to researchers from the Addiction and Metal Health Group at the University of Bath—working in conjunction with King's College London, UCL and the Australian Catholic University in Melbourne—giving cannabis users increased awareness of THC levels in the products they're consuming could lead to significant improvements in mental health.
As mentioned by the Society for Study of Addiction in their journal, it is suggested that the minimum unit level of THC be set at 5mg.
This is the amount that would typically be found in a small sized joint, which is enough to create the state of being 'high' minus the psychotic symptoms that come as a side effect, including, hallucinations, delusions, and feelings of paranoia.
However, a 2018 study published by the same team found that over time cannabis potency and strength have risen in the UK.
"Our findings suggest the health effects of cannabis are dose-related, we believe a unit system would help both users and healthcare professionals by providing clearer information on the types of cannabis products and their strength."Lead author Sam Craft, King's College London
The same report also noted that the level of THC—the component of cannabis which is thought to cause psychosis—has doubled in the last decade, increasing from 5% to 10% within the years 2006- 2016.
"Findings show that cannabis resin has changed rapidly across Europe, resulting in a more potent and better value product," said Dr Tom Freeman
And after years of collecting research for their new study, the authors now believe that introducing a standard unit system would benefit the mental health of cannabis consumers, especially in countries where cannabis is is still illegal.
Dr. Tom Freeman from the University of Bath believes that a unit system for alcohol has helped consumers better manage their intake. Therefore, it could also be useful tool for cannabis users, helping them to regulate their intake and become more aware of the amount of THC they consume.
"This should give clear guidance about the dose of THC people are consuming. Our hope is that the introduction of a system in locations where the drug is legalised will have knock-on effects to countries where it is not, providing users and clinicians with an important toolkit to guide safer use," Dr. Freeman said.
A grading system for the strength of cannabis, similar to what is already in place for alcohol would provide better security for cannabis users and show improvements in their long-term mental health.
This would certainly be a step in the right direction, towards better cannabis consumer safety.
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