Latest data from the EU, Norway and Turkey show a marked increase in the THC content in hashish within the past few years, according to reports surfacing in German media.
The European Monitoring Center for Drug and Drug Addiction in Portugal collected data on cannabis use in the 28 states of the EU, Norway and Turkey.
A research group led by Tom Freeman of the Addiction and Mental Health Group of the Faculty of Psychology of the University of Bath (UK) has studied the data. Their aim was to determine differences (between States and over time) in THC content (ie percentage THC), in price (ie euros per gram of hashish or marijuana) and in “value” (measured in milligrams of THC per euro).
The data is subject to some uncertainties. The concentration could only be determined in cannabis products which the police confiscated. But no reason has been given why confiscated cannabis would vary on average from unconfiscated. To observe price fluctuations in illegal markets is difficult. However, the trend towards legalizing private cannabis use and allowing certain medical applications has made this task easier.
From 2006 to 2016, the THC content in herbal cannabis increased from 5 percent to around 10 percent. The growth rates were constant. Unlike the hashish: From 2006 to 2011, the concentration remained relatively stable (from 8 to 10 percent), but from 2011 to 2016, it increased faster: from 10 to 17 percent. The price also rose, but less so than herbal cannabis.
The conclusion is clear: the strength of hashish has increased massively in Europe. And also the “value”, the THC, which one gets for the money, has increased. The reason given is that in Morocco the planting of stronger hemp plants was changed.
In the Harz it also has cannabidiol (CBD). With CBD, you can treat certain forms of epilepsy and psychosis (anxiety syndrome). CBD also mitigates harmful effects of THC that have been detected at high consumption, such as increased tendency for paranoia and memory disorders.
More THC with constant CBD and fairly unchanged smoking habits -the conclusion: hashish has become more dangerous in the last decade. If cannabis is to be legalized , introducing an upper limit of THC concentration – especially hashish – would be worth considering.
“What we see in Europe is a large increase in THC content with stable or declining CBD levels. This potentially makes cannabis more harmful, ” said Tom Freeman from Bath University.
Worldwide, it is estimated that 192 million people regularly consume cannabis, in Europe estimated 24 million consumers (7.2 percent of European adults).
Swiss data were not considered. But given the widespread use of medical and recreational cannabis in that country one can assume that there are no significant differences if Switzerland were included.
THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) the psychoactive element in hemp products used as drugs. They are consumed as resin (by the term “hashish”) or in the form of dried flowers (“marijuana”).