Ireland’s High-potency Problem

Ireland’s High-potency Problem

For all of the legal cannabis industry’s positive momentum, it’s important to be reminded that cannabis is still a drug and needs to be treated as such by those who use it. Once such reminder comes from Ireland.

Ireland’s drug treatment facilities are sounding the alarm about high-potency cannabis flooding the market. This might sound great to those who like their weed to have a high level of THC, but for others, it’s creating a slew of health problems.

In the 1990s and early 2000s, smoking cannabis in Ireland wasn’t at all like it is now. As the Irish Times reports, back then, most people used low-quality hashish from Morocco, one of the only products available. Since then, the potency of resin has increased dramatically, causing psychosis and other health problems.

But Ireland isn’t the only country in which the strength of cannabis has spiked. The average potency of resin seized in 28 EU member states increased from 8.14% THC to 17.22% between 2006 and 2016. The potency of herbal cannabis increased from 5% to 10.22% over the same period. These high amounts of THC are seriously affecting users, especially young people.

What Has Caused the Spike?

According to the Irish Times, it all started when kingpin John Gilligan was sentenced to a long prison sentence for importing cannabis. Gilligan was likely the reason why there wasn’t much choice on the Irish market, and why people used the bad quality hashish. Once this big player was out of the way, the competition had a chance to conquer the Irish market, flooding it with a wide variety of cannabis imported from North Africa and the Middle East.

In order to keep up with demand, Moroccan resin producers had to increase the potency of their resin by extracting in a more efficient way. But they didn’t increase their price, and cheap weed started popping up at countless grow houses across Ireland.

As a result, cannabis products available in Ireland (as well as in many other European countries) now contain much more THC than a decade ago, which has made it virtually impossible for first-time users in Ireland and elsewhere across Europe to find low-THC cannabis when they first try the drug.

So, what does this mean?

Well, for starters, it means that Irish folks using cannabis for the first time are very likely to have a bad experience.

It also means that the growing number of people needlessly forced to enter drug treatment for cannabis will only continue to rise.

Stay tuned to The Sugar Leaf for updates.