Researchers from the University at Buffalo and the University of Michigan have found consumer knowledge of cannabinoids and dosing is severely lacking – even among those you would assume would know.
The researchers surveyed 500 frequent cannabis users at an marijuana advocacy event held on University of Michigan’s campus. Questions in the 24-item questionnaire included those relating to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) content, and effective dosages. Two-thirds of survey participants reported using cannabis every day.
When asked to note the milligram amounts they considered to be effective doses of THC and CBD, the majority opted to tick a box indicating “I don’t know”.
“Other participants gave average estimates of 91 milligrams for THC and 177 milligrams for CBD. In other words, they were way off,” notes the University at Buffalo News Center.
Daniel Kruger, PhD, who was the lead author of the study, commented the average estimate for THC would be fatal in humans.
Another surprising outcome was what is considered a low-THC strain of cannabis, which 58% pegged at 20% THC or higher. 22% said it was 40% THC or higher – both of these guesses are incredibly high. Just as a comparison, hemp is considered low THC cannabis – and legally in the USA, it can’t be above 0.3% (note the decimal point) otherwise it’s considered marijuana.
There was similar sort of confusion in relation to CBD (cannabidiol) levels, with estimates for low-CBD classification being far too high.
With most Americans nowadays living in a state where cannabis is legal in some form, the researchers’ message is clear given the potential negative outcomes from a lack of consumer knowledge:
“Our results suggest the need for broad-based cannabis education programs to help advocates and the general public to better understand and manage their use of the drug,” said study co-author, R. Lorraine Collins, PhD.
Study co-author Jessica Kruger noted the cannabis strains of today are 20 times as potent as they were during the “Summer of Love” – a social phenomenon that occurred during mid-1967 when cannabis was widely and openly used in the USA.
The researchers’ findings were published in the journal Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy.