You may notice different tiers when visiting dispensaries. Each tier also has a different price. THC percentages are typically higher on the “top shelf” products. But here’s something you may not understand – more THC doesn’t make the strain any higher quality than another strain. We’ll explain to you, in this guide, why big THC numbers don’t really mean all that much.
Effects are Individualized
Have you ever used cannabis with a friend and both of you experienced different levels of effects? This happens because of how your body is reacting to the cannabinoids and terpenes in the strain. Your body may absorb more of one cannabinoid than your friend, helping certain effects become more noticeable.
When it comes to cannabis, the body needs different cannabinoids at different times. It will absorb more of what it needs, allowing those effects to come through more. Also, the CB1 and CB2 receptors in your body react to cannabinoids differently as well.
Synergy is created when all of the cannabinoids and terpenes of a strain work together. This synergy can only be achieved by implementing the entourage effect – which is using the whole plant. Whole plant medicine is the ideal way for your body to reap all of the benefits of a particular cannabis strain or product. This is also why you may notice that isolates aren’t as effective as just using the strain in its purest form – flower.
Tolerance is a factor in why some strains seem potent on paper, but the effects aren’t what you expect. If you are a heavy cannabis user and only choose high THC strains, this could be part of the problem. Every cannabis strain has a unique profile. The cannabinoids are in varying concentrations in each strain, as are the terpenes.
If you aren’t researching strains for their cannabinoid and terpene profiles, a THC percentage isn’t going to tell you if that strain will do the trick for you or not. The body needs far more than just THC. If your body doesn’t need the cannabinoids/terpenes in a strain, you may be disappointed with the effects you do experience.
To reduce your tolerance, take a break from cannabis. Heavy users that have used cannabis for a year or more may need a break for an entire week to help reset the endocannabinoid system and tolerance. Use CBD only for a week, then start with lower THC strains but make sure the properties of the strain are what your body needs. Microdosing is ideal. Microdosing is when you use just a small amount to achieve relief. Using a smaller dose doesn’t mean the effects will wear off faster – every strain has a different profile so the effects in some strains may only last 20 minutes and others may last upwards of 2 hours.
It’s said that moderate cannabis users can take a 48-hour break from cannabis to help reset the tolerance. In that time, use CBD only as it may still help the body by not depriving it of an important cannabinoid – cannabidiol.
Why Some Think Higher THC Means Higher Quality
Many dispensaries charge higher prices for strains containing higher levels of THC, they’re also labeled (most of the time) as being higher quality. This isn’t necessarily true. Every cannabis strain has a maximum THC potential, not every strain is designed to produce high amounts of THC. Some strains top out at 10 – 12-percent THC, and that’s just the genetics and characteristics of that strain. It doesn’t mean it’s not a quality strain. The cannabinoids and terpenes in that strain are what determine its value because even though it may not have 20-percent or more THC, it may still put your head in the clouds.
High-quality is determined by your body’s response to a cannabis strain. A strain, such as Moby Dick, that averages in the mid-teens in THC percentage may produce more effects for you than say, Sour Diesel that averages above 20-percent most of the time. Strains even higher in THC, such as Sour Amnesia that has the potential to reach 30-percent THC may do very little for you if the cannabinoid and terpene profile aren’t what your body needs.
You and your friends might smoke together and one of you may be “higher” than the other from taking the same amount of hits. It isn’t necessarily because of tolerance, it’s they synergy the strain creates in the body.
Do your Own Research
We have stressed several times how important it is to do your own research when it comes to finding the right strains for your needs. If the dispensary doesn’t have a full strain profile available that includes cannabinoids, terpenes and concentrations of each, then you really aren’t going to know if the strain is going to work for you. Yes, reading the characteristics of a strain is important, but that doesn’t tell you what cannabinoids and terpenes are in the strain.
If a full profile isn’t available, visit reputable seed sites and search for the strain there. Those descriptions include information that many other sources don’t. They will tell you what terpenes and other cannabinoids are in the strain as well as what to expect from it and what health conditions it may benefit.
By doing your own homework, you’ll do a better job at dispensaries picking strains that have the properties your body needs. If it is a brand new hybrid created by a local grower, ask what the parent strains are. Research the parent strains to have an idea of what cannabinoids and terpenes are in the strain. You won’t know which are more dominant than others this way, but you’ll at least have some information on a brand new strain. If no information is available, consider avoiding the strain because it could produce effects that you’re trying to avoid.
We hope that this guide has helped you understand that THC percentage doesn’t mean one strain is better than another. It also doesn’t mean that more THC commands a higher price tag – because it doesn’t. Use a variety of potencies as a test to see that lower THC strains can produce stronger effects than some containing higher amounts of THC – again, it just depends on how your body reacts to the cannabinoid and terpene profile of that strain.