'Reefer Badness'-A voice of reason in the pile of shite that is the tabloids.

By cannabis-sam · Feb 20, 2009 · ·
  1. cannabis-sam
    The more I see of the world [looks pensively out of window] the more it strikes me that people seem to want more science, rather than less, and to deploy it in odd ways: to abrogate responsibility; to validate a hunch; to render a political or cultural prejudice in deceptively objective terms. Because you can prove anything with science, as long as you cherry pick the data and keep one eye half closed.
    The Independent last Sunday ran a front page splash: “Cannabis - An Apology” was the headline. “In 1997, this newspaper launched a campaign to decriminalise the drug. If only we had known then what we can reveal today…Record numbers of teenagers are requiring drug treatment as a result of smoking skunk, the highly potent cannabis strain that is 25 times stronger than resin sold a decade ago.” Twice, in this story, cannabis is 25 times stronger than it was a decade ago. For Rosie Boycott, in her melodramatic recantation, skunk is “30 times stronger“. In one inside feature the strength issue is briefly downgraded to a “can”. It’s even referenced. “The Forensic Science Service says that in the early Nineties cannabis would contain around 1 per cent tetrahydrocannabidinol (THC), the mind-altering compound, but can now have up to 25 per cent.”

    Well I’ve got the Forensic Science Service data right here in front of me, and the earlier data from the Laboratory of the Government Chemist, the United Nations Drug Control Program, and the European Union’s Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction. I happen to think that people are very well able to make their own minds up about important social issues when given true facts.

    The Laboratory of the Government Chemist data goes from 1975 to 1989. Resin pootles around between 6% and 10% THC, herbal between 4% and 6%, with no clear trend.
    The Forensic Science Service data then takes over to produce the more modern figures, showing not much change in resin, and domestically produced indoor herbal cannabis doubling in potency to around 12% or 14%. (2003-5 data in table under references).
    The rising trend of cannabis potency is gradual, fairly unspectacular, and driven largely by the increased availability of intensively UK grown indoor herbal cannabis.

    If you were in the mood, you could argue that intensive indoor cultivation of a plant that is very easy to cultivate outdoors is the cannabis industry’s reaction to the illegality itself. It is dangerous to import in large amounts. It is dangerous to be caught growing a field of it. So perhaps it makes more sense to grow it intensively indoors, producing a more concentrated product. There is little incentive, on the other hand, to produce a perversely strong skunk product for the mass market, since most people tend not to pay any more for unusually strong skunk.

    There is, of course, exceptionally strong cannabis to be found in some parts of the UK market today: but there always has been. The United Nations Drug Control Program has detailed vintage data for the UK online. In 1975 the LGC analysed 50 seized samples of herbal cannabis: 10 were from Thailand, with an average potency of 7.8%, and the highest was 17%. In 1975 they analysed 11 samples of seized cannabis resin, 6 from morocco, average strength 9%, with a range from 4% to 16%.

    To get their scare figure, The Independent have compared the worst cannabis from the past with the best cannabis of today. But you could have cooked the books in exactly the same way 30 years ago if you’d wanted: in 1975 the weakest herbal cannabis analysed was 0.2%; in 1978 the strongest herbal cannabis was 12%. Oh my god: in just 3 years herbal cannabis has become 60 times stronger.

    And in fact, what’s most amazing is that this scare isn’t new. In the US, in the mid 1980s, during Reagan’s “war on drugs”, it was claimed that cannabis was 14 times stronger than in 1970, which rather sets you thinking. If it was 14 times stronger in 1986 than in 1970, and it’s 25 times stronger today than the beginning of the 1990s, does that mean it is now, in fact, 350 times stronger than 1970?

    That’s not even a crystal in a plant pot. That’s impossible. That would require more THC to be present in the plant than the total volume of space taken up by the plant itself. That would require matter to be condensed. If I was a physics-minded branding manager, I would suggest Quark Gluon Plasma as the most appropriate street name for this substance: and I look forward to reading about the scare in the Independent tomorrow.


    Ben Goldacre
    Saturday March 24, 2007
    The Guardian


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  1. Herbal Healer 019
    The sad thing is, people beleive this. I hear it all the time "did you know weed is like 30 times stronger than back in the day?"...

    People dont mind being hearded like sheep through propaganda & would rather beleive something they hear from a source on tv of questionable credibility than research it themselves. Doesn't surprise me the US is going to hell in a handbag considering the dense population of idiots that surround us.
  2. cannabis-sam
    Yeah as I said in another post, one of the worst newspapers in the UK known for lying and general trashy tabloid crap is the best selling newspaper (News of the World) and it shows how many people in this country are just fucking idiots that are dictated to by the press, they're the brainwashed masses, the sheep if you were herded by the newspapers and the adverts. It may sound arrogant but I do like to think I'm above these people.

    When SWIM talks to older ex-stoners alot say well this skunk is nothing like it used to be. SWIM replies you realize skunk is just sensi grown without seeds it's not some genetically modified demon weed. Then they realize it's just seedless bud and theres nothing to worry about.
  3. Nature Boy
    A ridiculous notion indeed. No-one would smoke weed that was only 1% in THC. That would be pointless. Strong strains have existed for decades upon decades, as have potent types of hash as well as cannabis oil which is very high in THC. Essentially what we have is a massive misunderstanding. Yes, people are growing disproportionately high in THC weed under lights, but this isn't the only weed on the market and it isn't the only weed people smoke. I sense a shift in the market in that a lot of the strains SWIM samples are rather proportionate when it comes to THC levels. He hasn't detected that morbid paranoid feeling that comes with bad weed for years. Maybe this is down to himself and how he handles weed but no-one else seems to report it either. Basically, the supposed evil skunk that allegedly causes psychosis isn't widely available anymore. People don't want it and they look for better, more balanced, strains.
  4. Jasim
    People need to learn the difference between potency and efficacy. To say that Marijuana is more potent (or saying that it has a greater % of THC) has no relationship to the effects of the drug. It just means that it requires smoking less of the substance to produce the same effects. Considering that a 'dime' bag no longer costs $10, it actually kinda evens out.
  5. cannabis-sam
    It's also misleading to refer to as THC as the active chemical in cannabis as there arer loads of cannabinoids, pure THC seems to have very different effects to cannabis.

    That's also why many studies into cannabis and mental illness are misleading.
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