DEA Says Average THC Content in Illicit Marijuana is 16%

According to a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) report, the average THC content of marijuana flower sold through the illicit market in the United States is 16%.

The report uses data from the University of Mississippi’s Marijuana Monitoring Program, which is responsible for testing marijuana seized by the DEA as well as local and state law enforcement. The DEA says the average THC potency in illegal marijuana is currently 16%, a roughly 30% increase from 2021, when the average DEA content was below 14%.

“The potency of THC in leafy marijuana is at an all-time high”, states the report.

Although the 16% THC content is substantially lower than most of the dried marijuana marketed in licensed marijuana stores in states where they’re legal. At these outlets marijuana is often labelled as having 20% – 35% THC.

However, a study published last year in the journal PLOS One and online by the National Library of Medicine found that these labels are often inflated, with the actual average THC potency being around 15%, give or take 2.2%. This puts it roughly on par with the 16% average for illicit marijuana.

The DEA’s report was released just days after the Department of Justice confirmed that the agency is officially moving forward with the process to reschedule marijuana to Schedule III, which would legalize it for prescription use nationwide.

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