New trends in cannabis potency in USA and Europe during the last decade (2008-2017)

Suman Chandra, Mohamed M Radwan, Chandrani G Majumdar, James C Church, Tom P Freeman, Mahmoud A ElSohly

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Through the potency monitoring program at the University of Mississippi supported by National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), a total of 18108 samples of cannabis preparations have been analyzed over the last decade, using a validated GC/FID method. The samples are classified as sinsemilla, marijuana, ditchweed, hashish, and hash oil (now referred to as cannabis concentrate). The number of samples received over the last 5 years has decreased dramatically due to the legalization of marijuana either for medical or for recreational purposes in many US states. The results showed that the mean Δ9-THC concentration has increased dramatically over the last 10 years, from 8.9% in 2008 to 17.1% in 2017. The mean Δ9-THC:CBD ratio also rose substantially from 23 in 2008 to 104 in 2017. There was also marked increase in the proportion of hash oil samples (concentrates) seized (0.5-4.7%) and their mean Δ9-THC concentration (6.7-55.7%) from 2008 to 2017. Other potency monitoring programs are also present in several European countries such as The Netherlands, United Kingdom, France, and Italy. These programs have also documented increases in Δ9-THC concentrations and Δ9-THC:CBD ratios in cannabis. These trends in the last decade suggest that cannabis is becoming an increasingly harmful product in the USA and Europe.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-15
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience
Issue number1
Early online date22 Jan 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2019


  • CBD
  • CBG
  • CBN
  • Cannabis
  • Concentrates
  • Hash oil
  • Hashish
  • Marijunna
  • Potency monitoring
  • Sinsemilla
  • Δ -THC

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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