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Forensic Sci Int. 2012 Sep 10;221(1-3):77-83. doi: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2012.04.005. Epub 2012 May 1.

A survey of the potency of Japanese illicit cannabis in fiscal year 2010.

Author information

1
Kobe Branch, Narcotics Control Department, Kinki Regional Bureau of Health and Welfare (Kinki NCD), Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, 29 Kaigandori, Chuo-ku, Kobe, Japan. tsumura-yukari@mhlw.go.jp

Abstract

In recent years, increased 'cannabis potency', or Δ(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content in cannabis products, has been reported in many countries. A survey of Japanese illicit cannabis was conducted from April 2010 to March 2011. In Japan, all cannabis evidence is transferred to the Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare after criminal trials. The evidence was observed at Narcotics Control Department offices in major 11 cities. The total number of cannabis samples observed was 9072, of which 6376 were marijuana. The marijuana seizures were further classified, and it was found that in terms of the number of samples, 65.2% of them were seedless buds, and by weight 73.0% of them were seedless buds. Seedless buds were supposed to be 'sinsemilla', a potent class of marijuana. THC, cannabinol (CBN) and cannabidiol (CBD) in marijuana seizures exceeding 1g were quantified. The number of samples analyzed was 1115. Many of them were shown to contain CBN, an oxidative product from THC. This was a sign of long-term storage of the cannabis and of the degradation of THC. Relatively fresh cannabis, defined by a CBN/THC ratio of less than or equal to 0.1, was chosen for analysis. Fresh seedless buds (335 samples) contained an average of 11.2% and a maximum of 22.6% THC. These values are comparable to those of 'high potency cannabis' as defined in previous studies. Thus, this study shows that highly potent cannabis products are distributed in Japan as in other countries.

PMID:
22554871
DOI:
10.1016/j.forsciint.2012.04.005
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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