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Is Marijuana Really Natural?

With marijuana being recreationally legal in various states now, there are plenty of arguments both for and against marijuana. One of the big arguments we hear often is that marijuana is a natural plant. While this seems like a really convincing argument, there are a couple of pieces of information that people tend to miss when discussing whether or not marijuana is actually natural.

Marijuana’s Roots

When marijuana was first discovered by humans about 1.5 million years ago, it had a THC content of about 1.5%. THC is the naturally occurring chemical in the plant that helps to protect it from pests trying to eat it. However, it is also the chemical that creates the high. Whenever someone is smoking marijuana, there are a lot of different natural cannabinoids in it; CBD and CBGA (cannabigerolic acid) to name a couple. However, the one that people tend to focus on is THC because if their weed is really low in THC, they won’t be able to get high, if it’s really high in THC, they could risk getting too high. As far as marijuana’s history goes, 1.5% is an unbelievably low number.

The DNA that makes THC

As humans started to understand genetic alteration, we started to change and manipulate things to get the effect we desire. We see this happen with fruits and vegetables, where we have selectively bred them to be bigger, prettier, and more delicious. When we compare any fruit to it’s early ancestor, it’s almost unrecognizable, same goes when you compare wolves with it’s distant relative: the labradoodle. The same goes for marijuana.

In the early 1900’s, marijuana was running right around 10% THC. By the time marijuana was starting to get really popular, around the 60’s-70’s, marijuana was running right around 14% THC. In 2019, the marijuana that is being grown in California and Colorado is around 21% THC. If someone is going to have an edible, like a brownie or cookie, that will be somewhere near 50% THC. When people use wax, which is a synthetic marijuana made by extracting THC from marijuana with flammable chemical, it runs around 80-90% THC, it’s almost pure THC. These genetic alterations are achieved by selectively breeding the plants with the highest THC content in order to reach the desired outcome. However, often times we are so preoccupied with whether or not we could, that we don’t stop to think whether or not we should. An overload of THC can and has lead to common mental disorders.

THC Levels Are Too High

Current research is finding links between wax and mental disorders such as schizophrenia, depression, extreme anger, and manic episodes. Even anecdotal stories are showing huge differences between more “natural” marijuana, and wax. Unfortunately, the argument that marijuana is natural is just inaccurate. With the changes to the THC level of marijuana, the changes of the effects of marijuana on humans will change too. It’s important that we keep doing research about the effects of marijuana and the changes that occur in people when they take in large amounts of THC through wax and other recreational methods.