The Downside of High, tells the stories of three young people from British Columbia who believe – along with their doctors – that their mental illness was triggered by marijuana use. All three spent months in hospital psychiatric wards, and still wage a battle with their illness. Today’s super-potent pot may be a big part of the problem. Modern growing techniques have dramatically increased the amount of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana – ramping up the threat to the developing teenage brain.
But there’s an intriguing twist to the story: in the process of cultivating more potent strains of pot, growers have also been breeding out a little-known ingredient called cannabidiol that seems to buffer the effects of THC. So today’s high-octane pot actually contains a double-whammy – more psychosis-producing THC, and less of the protective CBD or cannabidiol. For many people, smoking marijuana is not a big deal – it is, after all, the most widely-used illegal drug in the world.