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The debate over the legalization of cannabis in the U.S. for adults involves both pros and cons, with potential repercussions for adolescents due to increased access. The potency of certain cannabis products adds complexity to these consequences.

Advancements in extraction methods yield more potent cannabis forms

“Cannabis” is used as a neutral term to encompass substances derived from the plant, addressing historical racial connotations associated with “marijuana.” The variety of cannabis products has expanded significantly over the years. Traditionally, cannabis was primarily consumed in its dried form for smoking, with a relatively low THC concentration.

However, newer forms, such as edibles and concentrates, have emerged. These concentrates can contain much higher levels of THC, sometimes exceeding 80%, due to advancements in extraction methods. The concentrates come in various forms, including oils for vaping, wax, and powders, catering to different consumption preferences.

Cannabis derivatives, such as THC and CBD, have distinct effects on the brain. THC induces a “high,” while CBD lacks this psychoactive effect. CBD shows promise for treating severe epilepsy and other potential medical uses, although further research is needed.

Ways cannabis impacts the brain

The differing effects of THC and CBD stem from their interactions with cannabinoid receptors in the brain and body. However, CBD can also induce drowsiness, mood changes, and stomach discomfort. It is essential to consult a physician before using CBD products.

Concentrated cannabis products contain higher levels of THC, the chemical responsible for the psychoactive effects of cannabis. These products come in various forms, including waxy, creamy, or brittle textures, and are produced using methods involving dry ice, water, or flammable solvents like butane. They are known by different names such as “budder,” “shatter,” “wax,” “crumble,” and “keef” or “kief,” each with distinct characteristics and potency.

Concentrates are often vaporized, distinct from smoking, as vaporizing heats them into a gas for inhalation. Vaporization is commonly referred to as “dabbing,” where a small amount of concentrate is heated and inhaled. Vape pens, also known as dab pens in some areas, offer another method for vaporizing concentrates