High THC Marijuana Use and Mental Health

With the legalizing of marijuana for recreational use in California and other places, we find the industry alive and well. Maybe too well. You see, there are lots of specialty commercial growers who are pumping up the volume on the THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) content in their products. THC, as you know, is the active ingredient in marijuana that gets you “high”. It has an almost immediate psychological effect that puts the user in an altered state-of-mind.

The non-THC (mostly CBD) cannabis market is touting its health benefits – some supported with empirical data, some not – for supplements, skin cream, protein powders, and an assortment of other products (cite:1). Buyer be advised there is a big difference between the stuff people smoke to get high, and the cannabis by products people use for health and wellness.

THC is a Potent Psychological Chemical and Is Classified as a Neurotoxin

As recreational use marijuana growers compete for top-bidding in the “most THC concentrated product” product category– users are also jumping on the bandwagon. With higher levels of THC, the users can get higher, quicker. Unfortunately, since THC is a neurotoxin/poison it can also do damage to the brain. Over time it can be quite serious, as the THC kills more brain cells than the body’s natural process through creating stem cells can produce. If this doesn’t sound serious to you, then perhaps we should explore some of the real ramifications.

If you use marijuana with high, very high, or ultra-high THC levels you could bring on early Alzheimer’s or end up with Parkinson’s Disease. Now, that’s pretty serious, right? This is what happens to people who use too much and/or too high a concentration level. THC prevents the brain temporarily from forming long-term memories and from learning new things. To form long-term memories, you must first create short-term memories, but you can’t because your brain is disrupted in the process (cite: 2).

Perhaps you can see why people who smoke a lot of marijuana often have trouble remembering things? Maybe you can see why people you know who smoke a lot of marijuana sometimes appear to have mild dementia. The biggest problem now is, no one knows how bad this problem will become in the future, as THC levels have never been this high before. Now they are, and there are no real guidelines as to how concentrated the THC levels that are sold to the public can be.

 

The Pot of the 1960s and Today’s High Potency THC Marijuana

Indeed, you might be thinking to yourself right now; “If all those people smoked so much weed in the 60s, how come they seem to be doing fine now?” That’s a fair question and a great debating point, but consider if you will that the highest THC levels back in the 1960s were clocking in at 9%, most much lower than that, around 3 to 5%. Today, we have specialty marijuana that is 30%.

If someone in the 1960s was growing a little bud in their backyard, they were at the lower levels. Compare that to the high 30% THC levels now available which is six to ten times higher? Are you beginning to see the problem? Many chemists, botanists, and GMO researchers are all working very hard to produce the most THC intensive marijuana. There is a lot of money involved in producing high-grade potent marijuana, it’s in high demand by consumers and marijuana enthusiasts. Sometimes for bragging rights, sometimes in search of the ultimate high.

Marijuana dispensaries and sellers often tout that they have the highest THC marijuana for sale, some are overhyped sales nonsense. Still, even if they claim it is 35%, but it’s only 25%, it’s still way too concentrated for daily use. 

 

The Link Between High THC Marijuana and Psychiatric Disorders

The still-forming adolescent brain is at the highest risk, but even adult users will notice mental health problems over time. There are increased risks for psychosis, anxiety, schizophrenia, and dementia. In fact, using high THC marijuana every day puts the user at five times the risk of a non-user for such mental health disorders. There are also certain genes that many people have that double and triple that risk. 

For those with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) smoking high potency, marijuana can create more problems, making it hard for the individual to cope. Unfortunately, some folks believe that smoking pot will mellow out their symptoms, but it simply doesn’t work that way when using high concentrated marijuana (cite: 3).

 

THC – Tetrahydrocannabino – Is an Addictive Neurotoxin

Most folks don’t think of marijuana as being addictive since it is now legal and people we know very well occasionally partake in recreational use. Nevertheless, don’t be fooled, you can become dependent on marijuana and the higher the THC concentration level, the more likely. Those who are daily users may already be dependent or addicted and not realize it. Since today’s levels of THC are so high, it becomes more challenging to treat the dependency. It can be done, it’s just a lot harder.

It is estimated that one-in-three people who recreationally use marijuana regularly may have at least some level of substance use disorder. Ten percent of people will develop a physical dependency. That number is much higher when the teen and adolescent age group set is broken out of the overall statistic (cite: 4).

 

How Do You or a Loved One Break Dependency and Stop Using Marijuana

Each individual is different. Every person has a social circle of friends. Each marijuana user prefers a certain type of weed, with varying degrees of THC. Each person started their use at a different age. Many users also do other drugs or consume an amount of alcohol. So, the answer to the question above is; It Depends. It depends on a lot of things. There are a lot of circumstances involved.

Here at LifeSync Malibu we look at all the factors and assess how best to treat the addiction or dependency. Dr. Booth will customize and personalize a treatment plan just for you. Tell you what, why not do this? Give us a call, come tour our facility, and let’s talk. There is no obligation of course. We will give you complete confidentiality and keep your situation private. We will help you look into health insurance programs to end this dependency.

We are here for you. We will always be here. It is our passion to help. That’s what we do, it’s what we do best. We want you to have your life back. Let’s make this happen, we will be with you every step of the way. Give us a call today.

 

References:

  1. “Going Help Wild: Understanding the Challenges and opportunities for FDA Regulation of CBD in Food Products,” by Hannah Catt, published in the Journal of Food and Policy, Volume 15, Number 2, Fall of 2019.
  2. “High-potency cannabis and the risk of psychosis,” by Marta Di Forti, Craig Morgan, Paola Dazzan, Carmine Pariante, Valeria MondelliTiago Reis Marques, Rowena Handley, Sonija Luzi, Manuela Russo, and Alessandra Paparelli. Published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, Br J Psychiatry. 2009 Dec; 195(6): 488–491. doi: 10.1192/bjp.bp.109.064220. Second article (PDF) of High THC Research.
  3. “Adolescent exposure to cannabis as a risk factor for psychiatric disorders,” by Tiziana RubinoErica ZamberlettiDaniela Parolaro.  First Published July 18, 2011 Research Article Find in PubMed - https://doi.org/10.1177/0269881111405362.
  4. “Which biological and self-report measures of cannabis use predict cannabis dependency and acute psychotic-like effects?” By H. Valerie CurranChandni HindochaCelia J. A. Morgan. and Natacha Shaban. Published in Psychological Medicine, Volume 49Issue 9. July 2019, pp. 1574-158. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S003329171800226X. Published online by Cambridge University Press: 04 September 2018.

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