In today’s cannabis landscape, it seems like THC percentage is the hot topic on everyone’s mind. Many cultivators pride themselves on growing buds with THC content well over 30%, cannabis concentrates continue to get more and more potent, and even some cannabis consumers base their purchases on how much THC is in any given product. All this buzz over one little cannabinoid begs the question—what’s the big deal?
That’s why we’re here to give you the lowdown on this psychoactive molecule in an official guide to THC percentages. In this article, you’ll learn the basics of THC, what percentage may be right for you, and more.
What is THC and how does it affect my high?
So let’s start at the very beginning. THC (short for tetrahydrocannabinol) is one of the hundreds of different cannabinoids that naturally occur in the cannabis plant. This one in particular gets a lot of shine because it is responsible for the psychoactive effects that give you that “high” feeling. However, the psychoactive component of cannabis is only one small part of the cannabis plant.
The nuanced effects of your high like calming, energizing, sleepy, giggly, euphoric, et cetera are more influenced by terpenes (the molecules that give each cannabis strain its unique aroma and flavor) and even some lesser-known cannabinoids like CBD, CBN, and CBG. For example, a common terpene found in cannabis called linalool (also found in lavender) is known to promote relaxation and may counteract anxiety. Similarly, CBD (short for cannabidiol) may also ease anxiety and enhance your sleep.
That said, THC does play an important role if you want to take advantage of whole plant medicine. Research suggests that consumers can expect to get the most wellness benefits from cannabis when all of its parts work together, rather than separately—this is referred to as the entourage effect.
How do I know how much THC is in a cannabis product?
One of the benefits of cannabis legalization is that all products must be lab-tested to reveal the exact chemical contents, including THC percentage. Although the exact specifications may vary from place to place, most legal states will label their products with the THC and CBD percentage. This way you have an idea of what you’re purchasing before spending your hard earned cash.
If you’d like a more in-depth breakdown of a cannabis strain or product, you may be able to request a Certificate of Analysis (COA) from the brand that details every single component in a certain product. Here, you can discover exactly which terpenes and cannabinoids appear and how much of each.
Is a high THC percentage a surefire way to spot high-quality buds?
We apologize if we’re breaking any hearts here, but a high THC percentage does not guarantee that you are consuming quality cannabis. As we’ve mentioned above, the cannabis plant consists of far more than just THC. So if you’re after something really special, it’s important to account for the flavor, aroma, appearance, and balance of effects to determine the condition of your buds.
How have THC percentages changed over the years?
Long before cannabis testing was a widely used practice, no one really knew what THC percentage their flower was composed of. People just sparked up whatever they had without question. Due to this shift in the industry, potency of cannabis has sky-rocketed over the years.
It is said that flower harvested in the 1970s was on average less than 10% THC. Fast forward to today, and many strains are well over 20% THC and beyond. This change is likely due to the fact that we simply know more about cannabis and how best to train and grow the plants to our advantage.
Do I want a strain high in THC? What THC percentage is right for me?
Whether or not you want a strain that is rich in THC depends on what you are looking for. If you’re an experienced consumer or just want to get lit like a candlestick, a strain high is THC is your best friend. Anything above 20% is likely going to hit the spot for you.
If you’re a beginner or want to experience a more nuanced high with targeted effects, you may want to consider a strain with a lower percentage. Somewhere between 10% and 19% is your potential sweet spot.
If THC tends to make you anxious or you’re not into the idea of being “high”, you may also want to consider a CBD-rich strain or a cultivar that has a more balanced blend of THC and CBD. CBD does not carry any psychoactive effects so it is a good alternative for consumers that are looking for relief without any unwanted side effects.
Are there any strains that are naturally high in THC?
Unfortunately, it’s difficult to say if there are any strains that are consistently rich in THC. The industry is simply too vast and many genetics vary depending on the cultivator. If you’re after a particularly potent strain, your JARS budtender will be able to point you in the right direction.
That said, you can usually count on any strain with OG in the name to sweep you off your feet. This line of legendary cultivars are renowned for their potency and are a favorite amongst medical and recreational consumers alike.
Are there any strains that are naturally low in THC?
There are a number of different cannabis cultivars that have been grown to feature a lower THC content and a higher CBD percentage. Some of these strains may include:
- Charlotte’s Web
- Ringo’s Gift
The names may vary from state to state so make sure to check in with your budtender before diving in.
We hope this guide helps to settle the debate about the importance of THC percentages in cannabis. Although it is one incredibly important cannabinoid, it is just one piece of the intricate puzzle that is the cannabis plant. For more insider tips, education, and event recaps, stay tuned for more on our blog or follow us on social media @JARS_life.