Study Says Marijuana Is Now More Potent

But there's plenty of debate about whether that matters.

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News important to college students everywhere: Marijuana is as potent as it has been in 30 years, a report (pdf) from the University of Mississippi's Potency Monitoring Project says. The project—which is funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, whose "mission is to lead the nation in bringing the power of science to bear on drug abuse and addiction"—collected and analyzed samples of seized pot from 48 states and determined that THC levels are almost double what they were in 1983.

As can be expected from information distributed by the White House's Office of National Drug Control Policy, the press release included a number of ominous warnings about the increased potency of marijuana, including the risk of mental impairment, respiratory problems, addiction, the correlation between pot use and teen depression, and its status as a gateway drug. "Baby boomer parents who still think marijuana is a harmless substance need to look at the facts," it reads.

In response, an op-ed in today's Daily Mississippian from the deputy director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws says that "government claims of highly potent pot must be taken with a grain of salt" and that while "the feds' latest 'reefer rhetoric' may sound alarming, there's little substance behind the hype." Jacob Sullum at Reason magazine also does his part to debunk some of the government's claims, attempting to poke holes in the press release's logic and accusing it of using the "usual Anslingeresque scare mongering about marijuana madness."