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Is Today’s Weed Stronger Than You Think?

January 21, 2021 • 02 pm

When it comes to cannabis, it is important to remember that this isn’t your grandparent’s weed. As much as cannabis laws have changed to match public acceptance over the past few decades, so has the flower itself. The product has gotten much stronger. In some cases, the THC level has risen 3, 4, or 5 times higher than the marijuana flower of the 1970s and 1980s.

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Any lifelong cannabis user above the age of 60 will attest to the increased potency of today’s product. Taking just a couple of hits now can be equal to smoking an entire joint or two in the past.

One study published a few years ago compared samples seized from 1995 to 2014 and tested by law enforcement.1 It showed a steady increase in THC levels from 4% to 12% over the years. The same samples also showed an inverse decline in CBD content, from 0.28% to less than 0.15%. The THC to CBD ratio also rose significantly from 14:1 to 80:1.

Historically speaking, much of the 20th century cannabis data is inadequate. Funding was limited and studies were often conducted in less-than-ideal conditions. Some find that anecdotal stories from longtime users may be just as reliable.

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Modern cannabis flower strains can have THC levels of 30-40%, making them potent and highly effective for medicinal or recreational use. Although concentrates can provide even richer THC formulas, over 75% of customers in a recent survey still prefer flower or herbal cannabis as their top choice.2

Research conducted by the UCSD School of Medicine found that 61% of patients turning to cannabis for medical use had begun after the age of sixty.3 Older cannabis users should take note of the potency in cannabis flower, particularly that consumed by smoking. The same applies to other cannabis products, such as home-baked edibles made from flower or cannabis oils.

Edibles, tinctures, creams, and lotions are all available in a variety of THC and CBD concentrations. As research and development into cannabis continues to grow, concentrate levels and THC/CBD ratios are varied to produce targeted medicinal relief and recreational effects.

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What studies do not measure is the soothing effect of holding and smoking an entire joint in one sitting. For those looking for that throwback experience, there are options available. Lowell Smokes is just one example of a cannabis brand that offers a variety of potencies for any tolerance level. Make sure you check with an experienced cannabis consultant to find the right product for your needs.

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Locals and visitors to the Coachella Valley have made The Leaf El Paseo a go-to source for a great selection of curated products and trained cannabis consultants guiding customers to the best experiences. Customers are served in a safe, pleasant, and secure environment. Located in the Palm Desert shopping district, their prices are competitive. Be sure to sign up for the customer mailing list to enjoy the best prices and unadvertised weekly specials.


  1. Changes in Cannabis Potency over the Last Two Decades (1995-2014) - Analysis of Current Data in the United States – Mahmoud A. ElSohly, Ph.D., et. al.
  2. Over Three in Four Cannabis Consumers Prefer Flower Over Concentrates – NORML
  3. Study Finds Older Adults Using Cannabis to Treat Common Health Conditions – Michelle Brubaker and Scott LaFee


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