By LeeWEpstein

June 30, 2020


Cannabis concentrates, which are higher in THC than cannabis flowers, increase blood THC levels more but do not necessarily produce a stronger “high”, according to a recent study published in JAMA Psychiatry.

Participants in the study who used cannabis flowers and those who used cannabis concentrates “showed similar neurobehavioural patterns after acute cannabis use.

The researchers speculate that this may be because concentrate users have a greater tolerance to the effects of THC, or that “cannabinoid receptors may be saturated with THC” during high-dose use.

The study surveyed 121 users of cannabis flowers and concentrates, randomly selected to buy and consume products with high and low THC content.

The study included 55 flower and 66 concentrate users between the ages of 21 and 70, who had used cannabis four times in the past month, had not used tobacco daily and had used concentrates with no adverse effects, among other criteria. Because U.S. regulations severely restrict the supply of cannabis for studies, participants were asked to purchase 3 grams of a 16% THC or 24% THC variety, while “concentrate” participants purchased 1 gram of a 70% or 90% THC concentrate.

3 grams and 5 days

After 5 days of acclimatization to the products, the participants consumed their cannabis at home using their preferred method and were then evaluated in a mobile laboratory sent to verify their short-term intoxication.

The study aimed to answer several main questions: how short-term use of cannabis flowers and concentrates is associated with plasma THC levels, subjective intoxication, and mood, cognitive performance, and balance, whether these consequences differ between flower and concentrate users, and whether they differ on THC potency.

Cannabis intoxication was measured using the Addiction Research Center’s 12-item Cannabis Effects Scale, as well as a three-item Cannabis Intoxication Scale, which assesses three sensations: intellectual impairment, physical impairment, and feeling “high”. They were also asked to complete four cognitive tasks, including three separate memory tasks and a balance test.

Concentrate users “reported more frequent recent use of concentrate and had higher blood levels of THC and metabolites at baseline. Nevertheless, “despite this higher THC exposure, concentrate users did not show greater subjective, cognitive, or short-term balance impairment,” according to the researchers.

The researchers stated that part of their motivation was to assess the potential negative effects of THC on the brain, and that “the existing literature is limited by the use of low THC products and drug delivery approaches that do not reflect the law. the use of cannabis on the market.

They also stated that the “much higher” exposure to THC among concentrate users was a cause for concern about the “long-term clinical and neurobehavioural implications of concentrate use.

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