POLITICS
06/29/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Drug Czar's Pot-Potency Claims Go Up In Smoke

A newly released report about marijuana potency undermines previous claims by the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) that the drug's potency has hit record highs.

In May, the media ran wild with stories of highly potent pot sweeping the nation, as the ONDCP announced that their testing showed average marijuana potency had topped 10 percent THC-level for the first time ever. THC is the active ingredient in marijuana.

"According to the latest data on marijuana samples analyzed to date, the average amount of THC in seized samples has reached a new high of 10.1 percent," reads the announcement by Gil Kerlikowske, the Drug Czar.

But the full report is now available and it shows that the 10-percent bar is only crossed by throwing hash into the equation. Without hash, the average potency was 8.52 percent. The average potency of hash was 20.76 percent.

The Marijuana Policy Project obtained the full report, which is produced by the Marijuana Potency Monitoring Project at the University of Mississippi.

Connoisseurs would enjoy reading the whole thing, which is available here, as it breaks seizures and potency-measurement into "Buds," "Kilobricks," "Loose leaf," "Loose other," "Thai Sticks" and other categories.

There is also debate over whether there is actually a problem with higher-potency marijuana, with advocates arguing that stronger pot means that users end up smoking less for the same effect, thus sparing their lungs.

If you find anything else noteworthy in the full report, let me know at ryan@huffingtonpost.com.

Read the report here (PDF).

Ryan Grim is the author of the forthcoming book This Is Your Country On Drugs: The Secret History of Getting High in America

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