BOOMERS, BEWARE: POT MORE POTENT NOW
Agency Warns About Drug's 'Harmless' Image
The Office of National Drug Control Policy is warning baby boomers the marijuana their children could be smoking is not the same as the drug of their generation.
Studies by the University of Mississippi's Potency Monitoring Project found the levels of tetrahydrocannabinol ( THC ) in marijuana seized throughout the country have more than doubled since the 1960s.
"It's very serious. Marijuana is a huge blind spot among many Americans, particularly baby boomer parents," Rafael Lemaitre, the agency's deputy press secretary, said. "Many parents grew up in the '60s and '70s, where the image of the drug was that of a harmless drug, and clearly, things have changed."
Potency has doubled since the mid-'80s. According to the latest data on seized marijuana samples, the average amount of THC has reached a new high of 9.6 percent, compared to an average of a little less than 4 percent in 1983, the office reported.
"We like to call it 'Pot 2.0' because it reflects the dramatic increases in potency," Lemaitre said. "It's not that it creates a different kind of high. We're seeing dramatic changes in consequences of youth."
Teens are said to be at a higher risk for negative effects because their brains are still developing. Lemaitre said some teens use marijuana to alleviate depression, but the drug can actually compound the problem.
A virtual tour of a brain on the department's Web site shows THC's effects on the limbic system, which influences emotional behavior and memory. It is the brain center most influenced by marijuana, the department says, potentially resulting in depression, withdrawal, a short attention span, lack of motivation and suicidal thoughts.
Frank Tasciotti, the assistant coordinator of the Dutch-ess County Drug Task Force, said marijuana is considered a hallucinogen.
"The part marijuana plays in investigation is important as any other drug - there's just as much marijuana sales," Tasciotti said.
The Internet has also provided more ways to access the botanical tips for growing marijuana. High Times magazine now publishes online. The magazine offers information on different varieties of marijuana, such as Northern Lights, and how to purchase starter kits and advanced growing supplies.
"The techniques for marijuana growing are so sophisticated now," Tasciotti said. "They grow hydroponically, which is much stronger, isolate the seeds and do quite a bit of genetic engineering."
He said marijuana use in the area is fairly equal across the board in terms of the age.
Swim still thinks pot is relatively harmless. What do you guys think? Is pot becoming dangerous in this regard?