You might not get as high off the marijuana you’re buying as you had hoped. A recent study by UNC researchers revealed that most cannabis product labels made claims about potency that were higher than what was present in the products. The researchers reached these conclusions after evaluating marijuana samples from multiple Colorado dispensaries.
The study’s conclusions highlight the absence of regulations in the rapidly growing cannabis market all around the country and raise the possibility that many consumers are being misled into thinking their purchase will contain more THC, the psychoactive ingredient responsible for marijuana’s euphoric “high.”
For the study, the researchers purchased 23 different varieties of marijuana flowers from 10 dispensaries in three Colorado cities — Garden City, Denver, and Fort Collins — and tested the THC levels of each sample.
The THC levels in 18 of the samples were lower than what was indicated on the labels, according to the researchers. Some of the products contained 40–50% less THC than what was stated on the labels. The 18 samples, on average, had 23% less THC than what was indicated on the product label. Only five of the samples exhibited THC concentrations that were within or very near the range stated on the labels.
Although recreational marijuana is legal in 21 states and Washington, DC, researchers claim that there is insufficient control over the THC dosage that a person might receive when purchasing cannabis. One major reason for the lack of control is that the drug is still federally illegal, which means both medical and recreational cannabis requirements differ by state.
Cannabis cultivators send samples to independent labs for analysis to determine the THC content of the plant. Frequently, prices increase linearly with THC content. According to Anna Schwabe, the study’s lead author, this cost dynamic has encouraged businesses to cultivate, market and sell marijuana with higher THC contents.
Different sections of the marijuana might contain varying amounts of THC, which often decreases as you move from a plant’s top to its lower limbs. According to studies, the THC in cannabis buds can also degrade with time, particularly if the herb isn’t maintained properly. However, the researchers found that the cannabinol that results from THC degradation was not present in significant amounts in the study’s samples. This suggests that the reduced potency in the observed vs. reported levels was not caused by aging or poor storage conditions.
These inconsistencies in ingredient potency make a strong case for cannabis products, especially those intended for medicinal purposes, going through the clinical development process as is being done by IGC Pharma Inc. (NYSE American: IGC) in the company’s bid to bring standardized pharmaceutical-grade formulations to market after gaining FDA approval for those formulations.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to IGC Pharma Inc. (NYSE American: IGC) are available in the company’s newsroom at https://cnw.fm/IGC
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