If you ask a group of cannabis lovers which strain gets them highest, you’re going to end up with a slew of different answers. High THC strains are known for bringing on a super-stony experience, leading some bud lovers to judge the quality of a strain on its THC percentage alone. But does more THC always equal a more intense high? Here’s why THC percentage might not be the best way to predict your experience and what really controls the potency of a strain.
Will High THC Strains Get You Higher?
The truth is a higher THC percentage won’t always make you higher. Surprised?
Because THC isn’t the only factor that contributes to the ultimate effect of a specific flower, it actually isn’t a reliable indicator of potency at all. In fact, some of the hardest-hitting strains you’ll ever try may only have 10% to 15% THC. And it isn’t uncommon for people to experience stronger-than-expected effects from lower testing strains while being slightly underwhelmed from a higher-testing flower.
So, if THC content doesn’t reliably predict potency, what’s responsible for the difference between cannabis varieties?
The answer has to do with the complexity of the cannabis plant. Cannabinoids like THC are only part of the equation when it comes to the effects the plant can produce. In fact, it isn’t hard to find strains with the same THC levels producing widely different effects. Ultimately, cannabis is composed of many different compounds that influence the way THC interacts with your brain, which make getting high a lot more varied than you may have imagined.
Don’t get us wrong, THC percentage does matter, but not as much as how the THC combines with other cannabinoids and terpenes to create a specific synergistic effect.
While THC is known for producing the classic psychoactive effects of cannabis, there are many other cannabinoids with varying degrees of psychoactivity that can change the way THC reacts with your brain.
For example, you’ve probably heard that CBD can curb some of the negative side effects of THC. Thus, people who are sensitive to THC can enjoy larger doses when toking cannabis that has a balanced THC:CBD ratio. On the other hand, if that person uses a product with the same amount of THC but only one-twentieth the amount of CBD, they’re going to have a much stronger high.
Terpenes are another compound that play an important role in determining how a strain will make you feel. Terpenes are molecules that provide the unique flavor and aroma in cannabis and many other plants. Each strain has its own district terpene content which works together with other cannabis molecules to influence each other. This synergy is known as “the entourage effect” and is the reason terpenes have become a popular area in cannabis research.
When certain strains are known for producing a specific effect, it’s often the terpenes rather than the THC percentage that is responsible. For example, terpenes like pinene and limonene can promote an elevated mood, alertness, memory retention, and can counteract some of the effects of THC. On the other hand, terpenes like myrcene and linalool can promote relaxation, anxiety relief, and the sedating “couch-lock” effect. Sounds like a good reason to start getting into terps.
Is High THC Cannabis Right For Me?
If you still love those high THC strains, we can’t blame you. They certainly have their place. Our newest strain, Mintz, has a THC percentage of 25.14%, and we love it.
If you’re trying to just get as high as possible, try looking beyond the THC percentage and investigate terpenes. Check out our online menu now to get started.
If you don’t want to get too high, look for a more balanced strain with a higher CBD percentage. Our budtenders can help you find some great ones, just ask.