The general consensus when it comes to weed is the more THC the better.
But bigger doesn’t always mean better.
While many modern day stoners turn to THC percentage to gauge the strength of the strain, THC percentages aren’t necessarily the best indicator of how powerful your high will be.
So does THC percentage matter then?
And if you can’t gauge your high on how high the THC percentage is, what should you look for?
Here we’ll take a look at the truth behind THC percentages and explore better tips for how to choose a strain that complements your own unique needs.
Key Takeaways: Is Higher THC Better?
- THC percentages play a significant role in the potency of cannabis but there are other factors to consider too.
- High THC percentage could produce undesirable results (anxiety, paranoia, etc.)
- Terpenes and cannabinoid ratios have a bigger impact on the effects of a particular strain than THC percentage.
Why THC Percentages Are A False Prophecy
It seems like common sense: the higher the THC content, the stronger the high. But this isn’t always the case. If anything, THC percentages are more of a marketing tactic. Seriously, they don’t even indicate the quality of the weed or the strength of the high.
Instead, the potency of the weed you buy depends more on its chemical profile. It’s the combination of cannabis compounds like terpenes, flavonoids and cannabinoids working together that produce a specific high.
Even though THC is what’s ultimately responsible for weed’s psychoactive effects, other cannabis compounds work together to balance out the overall experience. That said, THC percentage is not the best indicator for a strain’s resulting effects.
Next time you buy weed, look for the concentration of other compounds alongside THC levels. A strain’s terpenes, CBD:THC ratio and percentage of other cannabinoids (like CBG and CBN) give more insight into a strain’s effects than THC percentage alone.
Higher than high THC percentages can also lead to some serious undesirable effects. If you’ve ever gotten paranoid or anxious when smoking weed, higher than average THC levels could be to blame.
Research shows that higher THC can pose a greater risk of negative consequences than lower THC levels.
Now that you know THC percentages are definitely somewhat of a false prophecy when it comes to powerful weed, let’s take a look at what really matters when it comes to how high you’ll get (and the effects you’ll feel) when smoking a certain strain.
The Synergies Of Cannabis
There’s a widely accepted theory that the various compounds within cannabis work better together. This phenomenon is known as the entourage effect, and it states that compounds like cannabinoids, flavonoids and terpenes work synergistically to create unique beneficial effects.
Terpenes in particular are said to work wonderfully with cannabinoids like THC to enhance a strain’s overall effects. It’s even suggested that a strain’s terpenes can be a better indication of the high it will produce than the THCa and THC percentage alone.
When purchasing weed, don’t ignore the THC concentration completely. But don’t give it all the credit for how high it will get you. The strain’s terpene profile combined with cannabinoid percentages can give you a much better indication of the high you’re going to experience.
Take limonene, for example. This common cannabis terpene is known for its energizing, uplifting properties. It’s found abundantly in strains that boost energy such as Durban Poison, Jack Herer and Sour Diesel.
Myrcene, on the other hand, is a terpene known for its sedative-like effects. OG Kush, Grandaddy Purple and Blue Dream are all popular strains with high myrcene levels.
A 2020 study, for example, discovered that the terpenes found in various cannabis strains “allude to cannabis sensory attributes, contributing largely to the consumer experience.”
How To Find Weed That Works For You
Before you buy your next bag, consider what kind of high you’re looking for. Do you want a relaxing body high? An energizing head high? Do you want to get blazed out of your mind?
If you answered yes to the final question, you may want to focus solely on THC. Concentrates are largely considered the best way to get super baked.
If you’re looking for specific qualities from your high, you can pretty much ignore THC percentage, but definitely talk to your budtender about the cannabinoid ratios of various strains. This way they can recommend something that will produce the effects you desire, whether that’s sleepy couch-lock or motivated creativity.
Beyond examining the cannabinoid ratios, consider the terpenes that are present in your desired product. While it’s true that terpenes are known for affecting flavor and aroma, they’re also believed to work harmoniously with cannabinoids and other cannabis compounds.
This means a strain’s terpene profile is huge for determining how it will make you feel.
What about if you’re using marijuana for medicinal reasons? The process of choosing the best strain for your medical needs is similar to choosing a recreational strain. Determine how you want to feel, talk to your MMJ doc and be clear about your desired effects.
Your MMJ physician will then consider THC percentage along with the terpene profile and other cannabinoids in various strains to give you a recommendation based on their experiences with other patients.
Wrapping Up: Why THC Percentage Doesn’t Matter
THC percentage is a popular marketing technique in the cannabis industry. Nevertheless, the relationship between THC percentage and potent highs is a myth.
This isn’t to say high THC percentages won’t get you high, but they can also lead to some seriously undesirable effects such as paranoia, anxiety, dizziness and more.
If you really want to gauge how a strain will make you, it’s the terpenes and other cannabinoids aside from THC you need to be looking at.
When shopping for the highest THC strains definitely pay close attention to terpene profiles and other cannabinoids. Ultimately, this will impact the quality of your high far more than THC percentage alone ever will.