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High Concentrate THC and the Adolescent Brain

On Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021 Dr. Libby Stuyt, gave an hour long presentation to members of the Sublette Prevention Coalition's Opiates and Other Drugs Task Force about the effects of high concentrate THC. With permission from Dr. Stuyt, a pdf of her power point presentation is available below.

Key takeaways from the presentation are:

  • Marijuana today is not what it was in the past – there has been a 212% increase in THC content over the past 20 years.

  • The higher the potency of a drug, the higher the potential for addiction. Ex. Alcohol – a 3.2 beer vs. Vodka. and Cannabis of the 60s-80s with a THC of 2% vs. current high potency THC with 17 - 28% in the flower and 85 - 90 % in the concentrates.

  • The brain is most vulnerable to addiction from ages 13 to age 26.

  • Prenatal use of cannabis negatively affects teens capacity to learn.

  • A 16-year study in the Netherlands experts concluded that THC potencies above 15% should be considered a hard drug, like cocaine.

  • High potency cannabis is associated with a tripled risk for psychosis (DiFortiet al. Lancet Psychiatry, 2015).

  • Hippocampus and neurogenesis — All drugs of abuse negatively affect the hippocampus, decrease neurogenesis and impair the ability to learn new things, this is true for alcohol, cocaine, methamphetamines, heroin, nicotine, THC.

  • A prospective study New Zealand –1,037 individuals followed for 20 years found IQ decrease by 8 points with early persistent teen use of cannabis (Meier et al. Proc Natl AcadSci, 2012).

Stuyt presentation for Sublette Preventi
Download • 2.71MB

Dr. Stuyt is a board certified Addiction Psychiatrist and a Senior Instructor for the University of Colorado Health Science Program, Department of Psychiatry. She is the medical director for a 90-inpatient dual diagnosis treatment program in Pueblo, Colorado.

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