Experts Estimate How Much Pot Is In A Joint

| by Sarah Zimmerman
A bag of marijuana, a lighter and joint rolling paperA bag of marijuana, a lighter and joint rolling paper

Although it may seem like an unnecessary piece of knowledge, experts have wondered how much pot is in a typical joint for years. It turns out, not only is the number essential, it's also less than you might think.

According to a new study published in the medical journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, the average amount of marijuana in one joint is .32 grams. That's much less than previous estimates that placed the number from anywhere between .43 grams to 1 gram. 

The New York Times reports that because regular smokers report cannabis consumption through how many joints they smoke, it's essential for researchers and policy-makers to know how much weed is in a single joint. 

"It turns out to be a critical number in estimating how much marijuana is being consumed [nationwide], how much drug-trafficking organizations are putting on the market and how much states might expect in revenue post-legalization," said lead researcher Greg Ridgeway, according to Science Daily.

Knowing the precise number could give policy-makers insight into how much marijuana is trafficked into the the U.S. from Mexico as well as the scope of the market in the country. It could also facilitate dialogue concerning the drug's legalization.

The data is based on criminal arrest data between 2000 to 2003 and 2007 to 2010. By plugging in more than 10,000 marijuana transactions into a drug-pricing model, the researchers were able to find the average weight of a single joint. 

This estimate is imperfect as it only looks at those who have been arrested for marijuana possession. Additionally, the weight of a joint doesn't necessarily tell researchers how much THC, the active ingredient in cannabis, there is. THC amount also seems to fluctuate, with the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy reporting that THC content rose from 5 to 8 percent from 2000 to 2010, according to the New York Times.

This new estimate provides a piece to a complex puzzle regarding marijuana consumption and could shape the discourse on U.S. drug policy. 

Sources: The New York Times, Science Daily / Photo credit: Flickr

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