The culture, legality and social acceptance of marijuana have changed. What has also changed is the power and quality of the herb as well. The cannabis available today has the potential to contain much higher levels of THC than ever before. It is also difficult to predict its CBD content and even its cleanliness and safety.
Rising THC levels increase the risk of dependency. A drug tolerance is always possible with regular users of any substance. THC tolerance encourages people to consume more marijuana to receive the same high. When this occurs it can be difficult for people to stop using marijuana products without some withdrawal symptoms. High levels of THC mean that people could develop a dependency faster than they would with marijuana that was less powerful.
Dropping or unmeasured levels of CBD are also concerning because it is this component that is useful in treating so many medical concerns. When people receive medical marijuana through a dispensary they may feel confident they are getting what they need but this is not necessarily the case. There is not enough regulation in the system to control the harvest quality of all of the suppliers used by local dispensaries.
Another concern is the quality of the marijuana harvest itself. Many growers use whatever land is available. Heavy metals in the soil have been discovered in some marijuana plants and poor storage and drying have led to increased levels of fungus on the crop.
These concerns do not mean that marijuana is unacceptable or unsafe. It is clear sign that better regulations are needed. This is particularly true in the instance of medical marijuana. Safety is a priority when people are relying on a product for their health. Creating federal guidelines that control how it is grown, where it is grown and testing standards to ensure a properly labeled product would not only eliminate most safety concerns but help to legitimize the use of the herb. Of course, the few states that have legalized its use do not have the ability to create standards that go beyond their own borders. Only federal legalization will make this type of safety standard possible.