Study shows most cannabis users have no clue what they’re smoking

Even those you would expect to have a high level of knowledge about cannabis products aren’t always clear on the topic

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How much do you really know about that joint you’re probably smoking as you read these words?

Recently published research from the University of Buffalo and the University of Michigan suggests that even those you would expect to have a high (pun intended) level of knowledge about cannabis products aren’t always clear on the topic.

The researchers took a survey of people attending a cannabis-advocacy event called Hash Bash, which took place last April at the University of Michigan. The results were published last week in the journal Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy.

In an April 15 news release from the University of Buffalo, the study’s lead author, Daniel Kruger, was quoted as saying: “Even the people who are most enthusiastic have very poor knowledge of cannabinoid content. They greatly overestimated how much THC and how much CBD was in various strains, and what the effective dosages were.”

For the survey, nearly 500 Hash Bash attendees—of whom two-thirds reported using cannabis every day, mostly for health or medical purposes—were asked to fill out a 24-item questionnaire. Participants were instructed to fill in, in milligrams, the amounts they considered to be effective doses of THC and CBD. They also had the option to check a box marked “I don’t know.”

According to the University of Buffalo news release, “the majority reported they didn’t know. Other participants gave average estimates of 91 milligrams for THC and 177 milligrams for CBD. In other words, they were way off.”

“The average estimate for an effective dose of THC would actually be fatal in humans,” said Kruger, a research associate professor of community health and health behavior in the UB’s School of Public Health and Health Professions. (He is also a research investigator with the Population Studies Center at the University of Michigan.)

“Our results suggest the need for broad-based cannabis education programs to help advocates and the general public to better understand and manage their use of the drug,” said the study’s co-author, R. Lorraine Collins, associate dean for research in UB’s School of Public Health and Health Professions.

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