Research Says : You Can Only Get So High

A recent study emerging from Colorado has found that higher THC levels don’t always equal a higher level of high.

you can only get so high

High THC strains have become increasingly popular in the world of modern cannabis. However, just because you have a higher level of THC doesn’t mean you have a greater level of intoxication – according to a recent study from the University of Colorado. So to put it simply – you can only get so high. 

Researchers from the university observed neurobehavioral impairment in 121 cannabis consumers. With various methods of consumption between consumers, researchers compared their impairment based on the amount of THC they consumed. 

The levels between participants differed dramatically. For the various methods of consumption, the concentrates used had a THC range of 70 to 90 percent. Flower, on the other hand, ranged between 16 and 24 percent. However, what the study found was that regardless of consumption method or THC levels consumed, they all had one thing in common – they all had similar neurobehavioural patterns and issues in the “domains of verbal memory and proprioception-focused postural stability,” – or the ability to stand, talk and walk. 

The researchers noted that “Differences in short-term subjective and neurobehavioral impairments did not track specifically with the strength of the cannabis consumed.”, which came as a surprise to them. 

Cinnamon Bidwell (lead author of the study) stated that “Surprisingly, we found that potency did not track with intoxication levels,”, “While we saw striking differences in blood levels between the two groups, they were similarly impaired.”

These findings don’t just confirm that your 6th joint of the night may be a little useless, but it may have big implications for law enforcement. Law enforcement overseas, and soon in South Africa, have been trying to establish legal limits on how much cannabis someone can consume before driving. So far they’ve been looking at intoxicant levels in the bloodstream, similarly to how it’s done with alcohol. 

However, the study’s findings suggest cannabis doesn’t work like alcohol, with no association between blood levels of THC and intoxication.

The study observed that most participants felt a similar level of intoxication, according to a self-assessment which was backed up by their similar performances in cognitive and balancing tests. 

The researchers have hypothesized that at some point after continued consumption, our cannabinoid receptors become saturated and thus additional THC has little to no effect at all. This seems to make sense, as I’m sure many of us have gotten to that point in the session where another bong rip or puff of a joint doesn’t feel like it’s doing anything.

So, you can only get so high. Next time you want to squeeze one more toke in – think to yourself, is it even worth it?

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