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Journal Article


Lindsay CM, Bernard KK, Hammond AM, Beckford S, Abel WD, Brown PD, Young LE. Drug Test. Anal. 2023; ePub(ePub): ePub.


(Copyright © 2023, John Wiley and Sons)






Reports suggest that cannabis potency has dramatically increased over the last decade in the USA and Europe. Cannabinoids are the terpeno-phenolic compounds found in the cannabis plant and are responsible for its pharmacological activity. The two most prominent cannabinoids are delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ(9) THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). Cannabis potency is measured not only by the Δ(9) THC levels but also by the ratio of Δ(9) THC to other non-psychoactive cannabinoids, namely, CBD. Cannabis use was decriminalized in Jamaica in 2015, which opened the gates for the creation of a regulated medical cannabis industry in the country. To date, there is no information available on the potency of cannabis in Jamaica. In this study, the cannabinoid content of Jamaican-grown cannabis was examined over the period 2014-2020. Two hundred ninety-nine herbal cannabis samples were received from 12 parishes across the island, and the levels of the major cannabinoids were determined using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. There was a significant increase (p < 0.05) in the median total THC levels of cannabis samples tested between 2014 (1.1%) and 2020 (10.2%). The highest median THC was detected in the central parish of Manchester (21.1%). During the period, THC/CBD ratios increased from 2.1 (2014) to 194.1 (2020), and there was a corresponding increase in the percent freshness of samples (CBN/THC ratios <0.013). The data show that a significant increase in the potency of locally grown cannabis has occurred in Jamaica during the last decade.

Language: en


cannabis; cannabinoids; delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol; Jamaica; potency


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