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Cannabiz: Study finds that higher THC levels don’t necessarily increase impairment


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Study: Higher THC levels don’t necessarily increase impairment

A team of researchers at the University of Colorado at Boulder have found that smoking high-THC concentrates, which can contain more than 90 percent THC, does not necessarily result in a greater level of intoxication than smoking cannabis flower, which typically ranges between 16 and 30 percent THC. 

Their experiments included 121 Colorado adults who were regular marijuana consumers. They found that while THC blood levels soared when users consumed concentrates, impairment levels didn’t significantly differ from those of participants who smoked flower. “Most neurobehavioral measures were not altered by short-term cannabis consumption,” the study says. “However, delayed verbal memory and balance function were impaired after use. Differing outcomes for the type of product (flower vs concentrate) or potency within products were not observed.” 

Impairment in both groups faded after about an hour. The research was conducted in a mobile pharmacology lab aptly dubbed the “cannavan” while complying with federal law, the University of Colorado said. The study was published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry on June 10, 2020. Check it out at

CDOT reports “Cannabis Conversation” findings

Colorado Department of Transportation launched “The Cannabis Conversation” study in 2017 to help them create effective behavior-change ads aimed at reducing incidents of driving under the influence. CDOT examined the perceptions of people who drive after consuming cannabis, connecting with more than 18,000 Coloradans through meetings, focus groups and a survey.

Findings include: “People who consume cannabis more often consider driving under the influence of marijuana to be less dangerous” and “Many cannabis users are highly skeptical of the laws, policies and enforcement regarding driving under the influence of cannabis... .”

“Most cannabis users told us there were times when they were uncomfortably high or knew that they were not safe to drive after using cannabis,” the report said. CDOT’s “Uncomfortable High” ad concept would encourage “cannabis users who drive high to feel uncomfortable about that decision and rethink their beliefs.” The full report is available at

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