Are consumers and the industry focusing too much on THC levels?
By T-Town Terps
It’s a brave new world for those of us who have been smoking for a long time. In a lot of ways, it’s exciting, and in other ways, it’s kinda strange (I needed someone under the age of 35 to tell me what a moon rock was).
In this new world of legally produced, packaged, and sold cannabis, we know for the first time exactly what we’re smoking. Someday, years from now, we will tell our teenage grandkids that we were considered counter-cultural and cool because we smoked weed. And that we had to buy unlabeled mystery products from our friend’s cousin that could have been grown by an actual drug cartel, all while facing the risk that we could get locked in a cage or killed by police. They’ll roll their eyes and tell us to take our meds, but we’ll know…
Anyways, it’s understandable that when we finally had access to quality-tested cannabis with quantified levels of THC, we all went a little overboard. Admit it—you look at that THCA number like it is the only thing that matters when it comes to quality. But let’s be honest, nobody is going to be able to tell the difference between smoking something that’s 22% and something that’s 26%.
Some perfectly good strains have even lower THC percentages. Find me a tasty strain in the 15% – 19% THCA range, and I am perfectly happy. I recently tried CT Pharma’s Northern Lights strain, and although it only had a THCA level of 19%, I found it to be one of the more enjoyable smokes I have had lately.
It’s understandable that consumers want the most bang for their buck but by focusing on THC alone, they’re robbing themselves of some great smoke. Think of it like wine or beer; you wouldn’t order one based on the alcohol content. You’re looking for flavor and an overall enjoyable experience. Cannabis is no different. Enter terpenes.
Terpenes are compounds the naturally occur in the trichomes of female cannabis plants. These compounds are the primary components of essential oils, so they are very aromatic. This is what give each strain of cannabis a unique aroma and why some strains can have scents similar to fruit, florals, or even things like chocolate.
As you might expect due to my pen name, my priority when it comes to cannabis is not the THC level but a strain’s terpene profile. I want to really enjoy the aroma/taste and the experience of smoking. Plus, each terpene has its own properties, flavors, and effects that make each strain unique. Unfortunately, as consumers focus more and more on high THC levels, growers are responding to that demand, meaning less breeding for terps and CBD. The result can be unremarkable, bland-tasting weed.
I’d also like to warn all my fellow cannabis enthusiasts about tolerance creep. Stronger and stronger products mean it’s easy to unintentionally over-consume. And your body will get used to higher THC levels and that will leave you feeling less punch from products of lower to moderate strength. That could lead you to use even more potent strains or rely on concentrates, which could raise your tolerance even more and leave you in an expensive and unhealthy cycle. At least, that’s been my experience.
Just remember, the next time you’re at the dispensary, it’s all going to get you high – so, don’t focus so much on the THC. Ask your budtender what strains have high terp counts and get something flavorful with the exact effects you’re looking for. Or get specific — what kinds of aromas do you like your cannabis to have? Maybe you like citrusy strains, or piney strains, or maybe, you prefer straight gas! Whatever your pleasure, your budtender can help you find something that will tickle your nose just right.
Use Cannabis Responsibly! T-Town Terps does not promote or endorse illicit or underage use of cannabis. Consult your local laws and ordinances to ensure you are using lawfully and be sure to always keep all cannabis products away from children.