The Lancet recently published an article that has the mainstream media in a new reefer madness spin.
The article is called, Association of cannabis potency with mental ill health and addiction: a systematic review.
Opponents of cannabis, both medical and adult use have jumped on the claims made in the article, but I'm yet to see any mention of the things I spotted in the only bit of the article to be available with open access, the summary.
Let's run through them one by one.
The summary states:
Cannabis potency, defined as the concentration of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), has increased internationally, which could increase the risk of adverse health outcomes for cannabis users.
I'm not a scientist, but I'd like to think that 40 years of use as a patient would qualify me to at least offer a patient's perspective of potency.
In my own personal experience in multiple legal locales and across multiple product types, I'd simply question any definition of potency that is restricted purely to the concentration of THC.
The suggestion that THC is the sole determiner and source of potency needs to be examined thoroughly and I hope there will be academic push back on the conclusions that have flowed from the original article foundations.
It further states:
Of 4171 articles screened, 20 met the eligibility criteria: eight studies focused on psychosis, eight on anxiety, seven on depression, and six on CUD.
The number of studies is extremely small. I'd question the criteria of any review where the original articles for inclusion in the review went from 4171 to 20.
Overall, use of higher potency cannabis, relative to lower potency cannabis, was associated with an increased risk of psychosis and CUD.
No definition of Cannabis Use Disorder was offered in the summary, so I'll assume it is the same CUD definition mentioned in this tweet from patient advocacy group, Veterans Cannabis Coalition.
Finally, the summary concludes with:
Standardisation of exposure measures and longitudinal designs are needed to strengthen the evidence of this association.