University of Hertfordshire

  • David J. Potter
  • Peter Clark
  • Marc Brown
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Original languageEnglish
Number of pages5
Pages (from-to)90-94
JournalJournal of Forensic Sciences
Journal publication dateJan 2008
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2008


Gas chromatography was used to study the cannabinoid content ("potency") of illicit cannabis seized by police in England in 2004/5. Of the four hundred and fifty two samples, indoor-grown unpollinated female cannabis ("sinsemilla") was the most frequent form, followed by resin (hashish) and imported outdoor-grown herbal cannabis (marijuana). The content of the psychoactive cannabinoid Delta(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) varied widely. The median THC content of herbal cannabis and resin was 2.1% and 3.5%, respectively. The median 13.9% THC content of sinsemilla was significantly higher than that recorded in the UK in 1996/8. In sinsemilla and imported herbal cannabis, the content of the antipsychotic cannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD) was extremely low. In resin, however, the average CBD content exceeded that of THC, and the relative proportions of the two cannabinoids varied widely between samples. The increases in average THC content and relative popularity of sinsemilla cannabis, combined with the absence of the anti-psychotic cannabinoid CBD, suggest that the current trends in cannabis use pose an increasing risk to those users susceptible to the harmful psychological effects associated with high doses of THC.

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