Concern with potential rise in super-potent cannabis concentrates

July 21, 2017
Concern with potential rise in super-potent cannabis concentrates
Concern over the rise in use of super potent cannabis. Credit: University of Queensland

University of Queensland researchers are concerned the recent legalisation of medicinal cannabis in Australia may give rise to super-potent cannabis concentrates with associated harmful effects.

UQ Centre for Youth Substance Abuse Research's Dr Gary Chan, who led the butane hash oil study, said a significant proportion of used the concentrate.

"Butane hash oil is a cannabis concentrate that is over 10 times more potent than herbal cannabis," Dr Chan said.

"Although users were more likely to report medical use, the use of butane hash oil was associated with high levels of depression, anxiety disorder and other illicit substance use. These results were consistent globally."

The research was based on data from the Global Drug Survey, the world's largest drug survey that collects data about drug users.

The tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content of butane hash oil can be as high as 80 per cent. In comparison, the THC content in herbal cannabis is approximately 9-15 per cent, depending on the method of cultivation.

Butane hash oil is produced by solvent extraction (maceration, infusion or percolation) of marijuana or hashish.

After filtering and evaporating the solvent, a sticky resinous dark liquid with a strong herbal odour remains.

Dr Chan said there had been a rise of butane hash oil use in the United States, and considered it to be an unexpected by-product of cannabis legalisation.

"The production and promotion of hyper-potent cannabis concentrates with 70 to 80 per cent THC now account for 20 per cent of the markets in Washington and Colorado, and use of these hyper-potent products seem to be gaining popularity in Canada," he said.

"Given that Australia has recently legalised medical use, surveillance needs to take note of any rise in the use of concentrates because it can be produced with relatively simple equipment that is easily accessible.

"However, at this stage there is no evidence for medical use of butane hash oil for any health condition."

Explore further: Thousands demand legalisation of cannabis in S.Africa

More information: Gary C.K. Chan et al. User characteristics and effect profile of Butane Hash Oil: An extremely high-potency cannabis concentrate, Drug and Alcohol Dependence (2017). DOI: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2017.04.014

Related Stories

Thousands demand legalisation of cannabis in S.Africa

May 7, 2016
Thousands of South Africans took to the streets of Cape Town on Saturday demanding a relaxation of drugs laws to allow medicinal and recreational use of cannabis.

Study adds to evidence that high strength cannabis is associated with an increased risk of becoming dependent

October 22, 2016
New data presented at this year's International Early Psychosis Association (IEPA) meeting in Milan, Italy (20-22 October) adds to accumulating evidence that high-potency cannabis in associated with an increased risk of users ...

Cannabis use in people with epilepsy revealed: Australian survey

March 9, 2017
People with epilepsy resort to cannabis products when antiepileptic drug side-effects are intolerable and epilepsy uncontrolled.

Component of marijuana may help treat anxiety and substance abuse disorders

March 8, 2017
Cannabidiol, a major component of cannabis or marijuana, appears to have effects on emotion and emotional memory, which could be helpful for treating anxiety-related and substance abuse disorders.

This is your brain on (legal) cannabis: Researchers seek answers

December 16, 2016
For those suffering depression or anxiety, using cannabis for relief may not be the long-term answer.

Cannabis use leaves society searching for answers

March 17, 2016
A University of Queensland researcher is a major contributor to a new World Health Organisation (WHO) report on the adverse health effects of nonmedical cannabis use.

Recommended for you

Trying to get sober? NIH offers tool to help find good care

October 3, 2017
The phone calls come—from fellow scientists and desperate strangers—with a single question for the alcohol chief at the National Institutes of Health: Where can my loved one find good care to get sober?

Medical students need training to prescribe medical marijuana

September 15, 2017
Although 29 states and the District of Columbia allow marijuana use for medical purposes, few medical students are being trained how to prescribe the drug. Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis ...

Protein links alcohol abuse and changes in brain's reward center

September 8, 2017
When given access to alcohol, over time mice develop a pattern similar to what we would call "problem drinking" in people, but the brain mechanisms that drive this shift have been unclear. Now a team of UC San Francisco researchers ...

11 minutes of mindfulness training helps drinkers cut back

August 24, 2017
Brief training in mindfulness strategies could help heavy drinkers start to cut back on alcohol consumption, finds a new UCL study.

Marijuana use amongst youth stable, but substance abuse admissions up

August 15, 2017
While marijuana use amongst youth remains stable, youth admission to substance abuse treatment facilities has increased, according to new research from Binghamton University, State University of New York.

Report reveals underground US haven for heroin, drug users

August 8, 2017
A safe haven where drug users inject themselves with heroin and other drugs has been quietly operating in the United States for the past three years, a report reveals.

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

JamesTripp
not rated yet Jul 21, 2017
"However, at this stage there is no evidence for medical use of butane hash oil for any health condition."

Given that the estimated LD50 factor for cannabis is 20000 to 40000 I think everyone can relax as NO ONE is going to die from Cannabinoid use.

------
8. At present it is estimated that marijuana's LD-50 is around

1:20,000 or 1:40,000. In layman terms this means that in order to induce death a marijuana smoker would have to consume 20,000 to 40,000 times as much marijuana as is contained in onemarijuana cigarette. NIDA-supplied marijuana cigarettes weigh approximately .9 grams. A smoker would theoretically have to consume nearly 1,500 pounds of marijuana within about fifteen minutes to induce a lethal response.

9. In practical terms, marijuana cannot induce a lethal response as a result of drug-related toxicity.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.