Colorado, and the vast majority of other cannabis markets have seen a surge in consumer demand for products with the largest THC percentages. More often than not consumers associate THC levels with the potency of the “high”, however—this is a false assumption.
For instance, there are strains of cannabis grown in Jamaica that are famous for how well cultivated they are and the high they produce. But these strains only test at around 15-17 percent THC—which is less than what many strains in the U.S are testing at. The reason these Jamaican strains create such a potent and pleasurable effect is all thanks to a synergistic interaction called the entourage effect.
The Entourage Effect
This process happens when terpenes, cannabinoids, and other lesser known compounds in cannabis are consumed together.
As we learn more about cannabis we will eventually understand just how all the compounds interact within the human body. There have been about 500 pharmacologically active compounds found in the cannabis plant, and it is highly likely more will be discovered as studies continue.
Being aware of terpenes and cannabinoid percentages via laboratory testing is no doubt useful, if not necessary for the safe consumption of medical and recreational marijuana—but correlating lab results with side effects is challenging because it is completely dependent on the individual.
Terpenes are a very potent substance that can influence human and animal behaviors after inhalation at small levels of less than 10ng/ml. It is thought that terpene profiles and cannabinoid ratios can significantly influence physical side effects including the scent and flavor—however they are not the only compounds responsible for the overall experience of being “high”.
There are over 80 cannabinoids and 130 terpenes present, pigments, non-cannabinoid phenols, flavonoids, stillbenoids, anthocyanins, steroids, alkaloids, amino acids, nitrogen compounds, lignin amides, and proteins to name a few.
While there isn’t much information that has been published regarding the other compounds found in cannabis, research does suggest that some of them have been found to have the potential to produce a variety of health benefits.
We do know that terpenes are found in a range of healthy fruits, vegetables, plants, and herbs—and flavonoids, specifically anthocyanins that are in cannabis are also present in blueberries and cherries.
We do know that other flavonoids that possess antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, anti-neurodegenerative, antioxidant, and anti-cancer qualities are also present in cannabis.
The Final Hit
After consideration of all of these other compounds it is easy to see why and how THC alone does not equate to a potent high—and to remember cannabis is a very complicated cocktail of compounds, so predicting consumer experience is no easy feat.
What is more likely to guarantee a perfect high is going to a reputable dispensary and talking with an experienced bud tender about your specific needs and tolerance levels.
The main take away to remember here is that all of the different compounds present in weed contributes to the potency of the high— not just THC alone.
We hope you found this article useful! To learn more about demystifying THC potency levels check out this video below from our friends at Canna Descent & Civilized!
Breckenridge Organic Therapy carries a variety of cannabis products that are naturally sourced and high quality. Feel free to stop by or contact us with any questions you may have and we will be happy to help!