Study shows higher THC levels don’t always lead to greater intoxication

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Researchers find that consuming larger amounts of THC doesn’t necessarily mean more health problems

The University of Colorado, Boulder, found in a recent study that smoking higher levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) may not cause greater intoxication. Researchers observed 121 regular cannabis users during the study and evaluated their abilities to concentrate and their coordination. The researchers also ran blood tests prior to cannabis consumption, immediately after cannabis consumption and one hour after cannabis consumption. “Surprisingly, we found that potency did not track with intoxication levels,” Cinnamon Bidwell, lead author of the study, wrote. “While we saw striking differences in blood levels between the two groups, they were similarly impaired.”

While the researchers observed that subjects who consumed cannabis concentrates registered higher blood THC levels, their cognitive and balancing tests showed almost no variance with the other subjects. Kent Hutchison, a co-author of the study, noted, “People in the high concentration group were much less compromised than we thought they were going to be. If we gave people that high a concentration of alcohol, it would have been a different story.”

There will need to be more research to understand the relationship between THC blood levels and its effect on mental and coordination functions. One of the things that will need to be studied in the future is the tolerance and individual may have for THC. People who smoke concentrated cannabis products tend to have a higher tolerance to THC than those who simply smoke cannabis flower. “Another reason,” the researchers discuss in their published paper, “is that cannabinoid receptors may become saturated with THC at higher levels, beyond which there is a diminishing effect of additional THC.”