According to new data published in the Annals of Internal Medicine and first reported by Reuters, one in seven American adults used cannabis in 2017. Researchers combed through the results of a national survey of 16,280, finding around 14.6 percent of the population had used marijuana within the last year while 8.7 percent of survey respondents stated they had used cannabis within the last 30 days.
Smoking marijuana flower remains the most popular way to ingest cannabinoids, although 6 percent of respondents reported consuming cannabis-infused edibles within the past year. 4.7 percent of adults said they vaped in 2017, 1.9 percent reported using concentrates, and a little less than 1 percent of the population said they had used cannabis-infused topicals. People were more likely to have consumed cannabis in states where the plant has been legalized for medical or adult-use although of the people surveyed in states where cannabis is illegal, 12 percent still admitted using it.
Dr. Salomeh Keyhani of the University of California, a co-author of the study, is concerned about the results due to the lack of scientific studies on the long-term effects of cannabinoids.
“There are increasingly novel forms of marijuana available, and the risks of these products to health are unknown,” she told Reuters. “THC (the psychoactive component) is very high in some forms of marijuana, the concentrates, for example. We don’t understand the impact of products with high THC.”
Keyhani added that he believes the cannabis industry is exploding rapidly, and it may not be a good thing.
“It seems like the current regulatory structure is not keeping pace with commercialization,” she said. “There is commercialization without uniform standards on the types of products that can be sold or marketed to the public.”
Indeed, the sales of cannabis concentrates is up across the board. Recent reports from Colorado, where recreational cannabis has been legal since 2012, have found that sales of smokable flower (which can contain anywhere from 10-30 percent cannabinoids) now account for a mere 46 percent of the market. Concentrates on the other hand, which sometimes contain upwards of 90 percent cannabinoids, have been exploding in popularity across the board.
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