A new study published last month online in JAMA Network Open followed the cannabis-use patterns of some 2,700 high school students over a one-year period. Researchers from the University of Southern California took a look at use when it came to flower, blunts, vapes, edibles and dabs.
In short, those who used dabs were more likely to be using cannabis at a heavier rate than others 12 months later. “It’s early exposure to the dose of THC used in adolescence that may be likely to drive continued use and increases in the frequency of use,” said Jessica Barrington-Trimis, an assistant professor of preventive medicine at the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine.
“If someone picks up a vaporizer with a low level of THC, they may not be likely to keep using it,” she said. “But with concentrates, the high level of THC may increase the likelihood that they continue to use and use more frequently.”
A lot of this is common sense. There are certainly tolerance issues that will come into play if someone uses more potent cannabis on a regular basis. This will lead to them using more potent cannabis as time goes on to continue to get the maximum impact of whatever effects they were looking for initially.
Looked at another way, the headline here could be “those who use higher quality cannabis are more likely to keep using cannabis.” If THC is what is most responsible for the desired effects of the cannabis for a user, higher-THC products will produce better effects, leading users to continue use.
When people are satisfied with a product, they are more likely to keep using that product. They will return to foods that they like when it’s time to eat. They will frequent stores they like and buy more from brands they have had good experiences with.
Cannabis is no different. If you like THC and start with high-THC products, you will be more likely to stick with higher-THC products, which tend to be concentrates. I understand the need for researchers to learn more about cannabis, and I applaud that. But we pretty much already knew that people will keep doing things they like.
To be fair, concentrates are still relatively new to most cannabis users, and there is still a lot to learn about them. But we must beware of those who will use studies like this to scream “addiction” when all we could really be seeing is “preference”.