Cannabis Concentration and Health Risks Report

Washington State Prevention Research Subcommittee (PRSC), November 2020

Across the State of Washington, individuals, families, communities, and health care systems are struggling to cope with substance use, misuse, and substance use disorders. Fortunately, we have made considerable progress in recent years. Decades of scientific research and technological advances have given us a better understanding of how we can effectively prevent harmful substance use. Yet, in a time of legalized retail cannabis sales, one question keeps getting raised….is high potency cannabis use safe for the citizens of Washington State? High potency cannabis typically includes products such as concentrated oils and butters that can contain up to 99% THC. The Division of Behavioral Health and Recovery at the Health Care Authority has a scientific advisory group, the Prevention Research Sub Committee. In March 2020, the subcommittee invited a work group of researchers to better understand the scientific evidence of the health and behavioral risks are of high potency cannabis use. The intent of the workgroup was to help inform policy and practice with the best science available. The workgroup was organized and chaired by Dr. Bia Carlini at the UW Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute. Dr. Carlini invited scientists in the field to present the evidence to each other in order to come to a consensus statement. The Prevention Research Sub Committee is grateful to the contributions from all these scientists. Researchers from both Washington State University and University of Washington as well as others, worked together to address this important question. The charge of the workgroup was to provide policy makers with a summary of evidence on risk to health and behavior related to high potency cannabis. This report provides a consensus statement related to the health and behavior risk of high potency cannabis and offers a summary of research evidence supporting the consensus statement. While this report does focus on Washington-specific data, the findings could be very relevant and informative for those in other regions.

You can access the report by clicking here.

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