The Deception of Some Percentages

Navigating the complexities of cannabis purchasing solely based on THC percentage might seem like a logical approach. After all, higher THC levels generally suggest a stronger high, right? However, this isn't always the case.


Consumers are often misled, and the cannabis industry suffers as a result. We understand that changing people's minds can be challenging, especially when there's an ego attached to selecting products based on THC content. Our goal is to provide education to those open to listening, empowering you to spend your money wisely, avoid scams, and contribute to positive changes in the industry.

Let's delve into the science behind THC and uncover important truths that savvy cannabis consumers should consider.

Understanding THC:

Distribution and Limits: THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is the compound responsible for the psychoactive effects of cannabis. However, it's primarily concentrated in trichome heads—those small, shiny structures on cannabis buds. It's important to note that an entire cannabis flower cannot consist solely of trichome heads. Therefore, the maximum THC content in a strain is around 35% by dry weight, with high-THC strains typically ranging from 18-30%. The theoretical maximum for flower is around 34%, because other components of the plant must be present such as proteins and minerals. Be very skeptical if you see anything higher than 34%. Here is an example of a product that is misleading customers:


Degradation Over Time: THC degrades over time, transforming into other compounds like CBN and CBG, which doesn't produce the same high. Proper storage in airtight containers, away from light and at a stable temperature, is crucial to preserving potency. Be mindful of the harvest date when evaluating THC percentages.


Plant Variability: Cannabis plants are not uniform. Factors like light exposure and position on the plant can influence trichome production, affecting THC levels. Laboratories test small samples, so variations within strains are expected. Samples are taken from the top, middle and bottom of the plant. These percentages are then averaged to get an overall test of the entire plant and strain. Your purchase could contain bud from only the top or just the bottom of the plant. So, keep in mind this number is not set in stone.


Testing Integrity: There have been instances of fraudulent practices in testing, with labs and farmers manipulating results to inflate THC percentages. Be cautious of claims exceeding 30% THC and look for transparency in testing protocols.


Genetic Factors: Genetics play a significant role in THC potency. Sudden spikes in THC levels for traditional strains warrant scrutiny. Consumers should question inconsistencies in reported THC percentages.


Entourage Effect: High-THC strains often lack other beneficial compounds like CBD and terpenes due to competition within trichomes. The entourage effect, where multiple compounds enhance each other's effects, may be more pronounced in balanced strains.


Trimming Impact: Trimming practices can affect THC content. Machine trimming or overhandling can lead to trichome loss, impacting potency.


Recommendations for Savvy Consumers:

  • Look beyond THC percentages. Consider aroma, flavor, and overall effect.
  • Familiarize yourself with reputable farms and their practices for consistency.
  • Explore strains based on personal preferences, similar to selecting wine based on varietal and vintage.

Industry Impact:

The industry's emphasis on THC levels may inadvertently promote the black market and overlook other quality indicators. Alternative approaches, such as highlighting terpenes and capping THC values for a more comprehensive view, could enhance consumer understanding and product diversity.

Focusing solely on percentages when buying is an oversimplified approach that can lead to disappointment. As a savvy consumer, consider factors beyond percentages, such as aroma, flavor, and the overall effect you seek, as terpenes and other cannabinoids play a HUGE factor in your overall experience.

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