NIDA Blog: Myth or Fact? “Marijuana Is Stronger These Days”


person holding marijuana joint

(The NIDA Blog Team) It’s no myth: Marijuana today is much stronger than it was in the past.

Of the more than 500 chemicals in marijuana, THC is the main one that causes a person to feel high. And THC levels in marijuana have been increasing.

  • In the early 1990s, the average amount of THC in marijuana seized by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration was less than 4 percent; in 2018, it averaged more than 15 percent.
  • The average THC potency (or strength) in products available in some state marijuana dispensaries can be even higher.

This rise in THC levels could increase the negative effects of using marijuana, especially for people who are using it for the first time—and for young people, because their brains are still developing.

Here’s what else we’ve learned about today’s marijuana:

  • Marijuana extracts and resins, which contain concentrated THC removed from the marijuana plant, have three to five times more THC than the plant itself does. Read the rest.