From the Archives: Killer Weed (2009)

in Culture

“This ain’t your grandfather’s or your father’s marijuana…. This will addict you. This will kill you.” -US DEA Special Agent Mark Trouville, as quoted by the Associated Press.

If lying about pot has become the Feds’ national pastime, then lying about the supposed dangers posed by the increased potency of cannabis is an annual tradition.

Every spring for nearly three decades, government officials and prohibitionists have taken to the airwaves alleging that today’s pot is five, 10 or even 100 times more potent than the herb of yesteryear—all the while failing to explain why, if the weed of the past was so weak and innocuous, police still arrested you for it.

Of course, lawmakers and cops aren’t the only ones with a flair for the dramatic when it comes to the subject of “skunk’’; both pot dealers and consumers are equally likely to propagate mythic tales of the “killer bud” they sell and smoke.

The trend is hardly surprising. I mean, who among us is going to admit that they sell or smoke schwag?

But is there any truth to the oft-stated claim that today’s weed is fundamentally different from your father’s pot? And more importantly, is there any merit to the dire warnings that more potent herb is inherently more dangerous to the consumer? The answers may surprise you.

Pot Potency: Then and Now

Despite prohibitionist claims that the pot of the 1960s averaged under 1 percent THC—an allegation that, if true, would indicate that the entire Woodstock generation experienced nothing more than a giant placebo effect—US government researchers didn’t begin measuring marijuana potency until the early 1970s, when a team of investigators at the University of Mississippi received federal approval to initiate the Potency Monitoring Project.

Early samples tested by …

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Author: Paul Armentano / High Times

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