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Reading the Label Wrong: Is Higher THC Percentage Better?


Modern cannabis consumers seem to be in constant pursuit of the ultimate high, fixating on the THC percentage as a yardstick for potency.


However, emerging research and insights from experts in the cannabis industry are challenging this notion, explaining that a higher THC percentage doesn’t necessarily translate to a superior cannabis experience.


This article explores the intricacies of cannabis potency, explaining why the amount of THC in weed shouldn’t be the reason cannabis users reach for a product.


Understanding cannabis potency


At first glance, the THC percentage listed on a cannabis product label appears to be a straightforward indicator of its strength. We know the effects of THC, so it makes sense that more of it will lead to a better high.


Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive compound in cannabis, indeed plays a significant role in producing the euphoric effects that users seek. However, a closer examination reveals that THC isn’t the sole player in the complex interplay of compounds that influence the cannabis experience.


Challenging the “Is Higher THC Percentage Better” myth


Contrary to the prevailing belief that higher THC percentage leads to a more potent high, research indicates that this is not the whole truth.

A recent study from the University of Colorado found that high-potency cannabis consumers had the same level of impairment as low-THC users.

While products with elevated THC concentrations such as concentrates, edibles, tinctures, and vapes can indeed deliver intense psychoactive effects due to their cannabinoid-rich nature, this is a result of increased cannabinoid concentration, not just a higher THC content.


When comparing different strains of cannabis flowers, the effects are far more nuanced than a mere THC percentage can convey.


Factors like the specific terpene profile, the presence of other different cannabinoids such as cannabidiol (CBD), and the interaction between these compounds all play a pivotal role in shaping the experience.


So why do we think higher THC means a higher quality marijuana product? Well, Forbes reported, “When cannabis tests at more than 25 percent THC, dispensaries can justify charging $75 or more for a store-bought eighth.”


So it seems cannabis retailers might be pushing higher levels of THC products simply because consumers will buy them. And growers are creating those strains to meet retail demand.


Terpenes, cannabinoids, and the entourage effect


The entourage effect, a concept that underscores the synergy between different components of the cannabis plant, including cannabinoids like CBD, and aromatic compounds known as terpenes.


These terpenes, responsible for the distinctive scents and flavors of various cannabis strains, interact with cannabinoids and the endocannabinoid system to create different effects.


The presence of terpenes alongside THC can alter the psychoactive effects, giving rise to the unique highs associated with different strains.


The entourage effect not only challenges the misconception associated with THC potency, it disproves the idea that Indica and Sativa strains have distinctive qualities merely based on their classification. Instead, a strain’s effects are directly related to its terpene and cannabinoid structure.


Learn more about terpenes and the entourage effect


How to choose the right cannabis products


In a market flooded with products boasting high THC cannabis percentages, it’s essential for both consumers and budtenders to look beyond this number.


When selecting cannabis products, individuals should consider their desired effects and preferences and take into account the unique interplay of terpenes and cannabinoids that contribute to the overall experience.


Budtenders, as knowledgeable guides in the world of cannabis, have a crucial role in steering customers away from the misconception that a higher THC strain is always better. Instead, they can help customers explore the diverse array of strains, each offering a unique blend of compounds that cater to various preferences and desired outcomes.


Cannabis Concentrates Guide

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