If you are slightly older than the Millennial generation, your earliest memory of cannabis was probably in the 1990s. Perhaps you smoked your first joint to the accompaniment of Snoop Dogg’s “Gin and Juice.” It is no surprise that, as teen smokers became adult voters, medical cannabis laws have changed a lot. Now you can get medical marijuana delivery, sometimes even recreational marijuana delivery. West Los Angeles cannabis aficionados look back on the 90s, when you could get pizza delivered, but you had to go out in search of weed.
What you might not know is that not only has the context changed, but cannabis itself has also changed. United States growers have selectively bred cannabis so that newer strains have much higher THC content than the ones from the 90s.
What Is THC?
THC stands for tetrahydrocannabinol, and it is the “active ingredient” in cannabis. It is the cause of the psychoactive effects, the feelings of euphoria, that people get from taking cannabis. THC is one of about 60 cannabinoids found in cannabis. Cannabinoids are chemicals that act on the reward centers in the brain, producing pleasant feelings.
In addition to THC, CBD, or cannabidiol, is the other cannabinoid that is the most well-known. CBD does not have the same relaxing, altered sensations as THC, but does have therapeutic benefits. As we’ll learn below, today’s cannabis has more THC, but the medical cannabis that you can get prescribed such as through a Florida medical marijuana card, relies more heavily on low doses of THC alongside the therapeutic doses of CBD.
Today’s Cannabis Has More THC
The medical marijuana movement has led to the selective breeding of cannabis. Dispensaries are required to label the amount of THC in cannabis oils and edibles they sell. Some strains of cannabis for medicinal use have three times the THC of the marijuana that was available in the 1990s. Other strains have been bred to maximize the concentration of other compounds.
Next time you make the cannabis brownie recipe in the Alice B. Toklas Cookbook, you might want to use a little less marijuana. Today’s cannabis is much stronger than it was a few decades ago so a little goes a long way.