Imposing arbitrary potency caps on THC content is not in the interest of either public health or safety.

Higher THC products, like hashish, are hardly a new phenomenon. Typically, when consumers encounter higher-potency products, they consume lesser quantities of them. This self-regulatory process is known as self-titration.

Unlike alcohol, THC is incapable of causing a lethal overdose in humans. This fact is acknowledged by the US Drug Enforcement Administration, which has concluded, “No deaths from overdose of marijuana have been reported.”

Prohibiting adults from accessing these products from state-licensed retailers will not eliminate consumers’ demand for them. Rather, it will encourage consumers to seek out higher-THC products in the unregulated market. It will also move the production of these products exclusively underground. This undermines the primary goal of legalization, which is to provide patients with safe, above-ground access to lab-tested products of known purity, potency, and quality.

Rather than banning these products, regulators should provide the public with better safety information about the effects of more potent products, and they should continue to ensure that legal products do not get diverted to the youth market.

A version of this commentary was initially published in The Boston Globe.

Additional information is available from NORML’s fact-sheet, ‘THC Potency Concerns: Are Stronger Products More Problematic?’

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