OSU Research Chimes in on Weed

SciShort_11_12_15Perhaps you haven’t heard; weed is totes recreationally legal now. Since there are bound to be many people wondering what they’ve missed since the last time they toked up in the ‘70s, OSU kindly did a little homework for you old crustaceans and the numbers are sobering… or you know, the opposite of that.

For starters, the weed of today is indeed much more potent than the stuff they were hitting in Animal House, which famously led Tom Hulce to wonder if we weren’t all living in a universe that was just a tiny molecule in the finger of a larger being. This is an oft-repeated point with ridiculous comparisons often bandied about, but researchers know the specifics.

“The average THC content in marijuana decades ago used to be about 4 percent, but with years of improved cultivation techniques and plant improvements it’s now around 17 percent,” said Jane Ishmael, associate professor of pharmacology at OSU, in a press release. “For any older people who are considering use of marijuana again now that it’s legal, that’s something they should be aware of.”

So weed is four times more potent, but have we learned all we’re going to learn? Marijuana can’t have many more surprises up its sleeve, right?

“Frankly, there’s still a lot we don’t know,” Ishmael said in the same press release. “Marijuana contains more than 400 chemicals and we’ve focused most research just on one of them. Hopefully some future research will help better inform us about the complete range of effects, whether positive or negative.”

Which is to say, the easing of federal and state laws is now allowing us to really dig into the plant and see what it has to offer. One example is cannabidiol, or CBD, which was for a long time not even known by regular users, unlike THC, the active compound we all know (and love). CBD has been shown to have a variety of medically promising uses, and is now advertised and sold as an option in strains (along with, or separate from THC) in dispensaries.

 So go forth, gray-haired veterans of the old school. We know more than ever about the gift that keeps on giving, and there’s never been a better time to jump back in and give it a try.

By Sidney Reilly