Are THC levels the most important thing when it comes to purchasing flower?
It appears that more often than not, consumers at dispensaries make their purchasing decisions based on THC content levels. Why is that the deciding factor over other aspects of the flower itself?
Great question! When cannabis was made medically legal in 2000 in the United States, customers immediately wanted a way to differentiate the quality of the flower that they were purchasing. This led to cannabis producers measuring the potency of their product by determining the THC levels for the strains they grow. A large part of this is because potency was one of the only quantifiable metrics for determining if a product was of high quality. There is no denying that THC levels plays a role in the quality of a strain, but it is not what makes a strain have good effects or taste/smell good. Despite this, the industry has made it the standard of quality which they market to the public. High potency does not necessarily mean that the flower is high quality, and potency should not be the only industry standard for quality. CBD content is coming into the conversation because of the way it interacts with THC. When THC and CBD are used in tandem, it has been proven to reduce effects such as anxiety and paranoia that can sometimes be caused by THC. Also, Terpenes are incredibly important to the quality of flower. They influence the smell and taste as well as the effects. Quality terpenes can lead to a better user experience. With this in mind, the industry standard may be due for a change.
Unfortunately, it is due to the lack of cannabis knowledge.
Everyone's biochemistry is different. Therefore, different cannabinoids and different terpenes will affect everyone differently. This is why dosage is not really used on cannabis labeling since everyone is different. Cannabinoids together with the terpenes, mentioned above, produce an entourage effect which is more effective than taking just THC or just CDB. Higher THC content does not necessarily translate into a desired feeling or affect. Researchers encourage journaling when consuming different products in order to gather more information on feeling, alleviation and/or impairment. With the industry in its infancy, the more information the better!
As a consumer, I too focused on THC and CBD percentages when my state (Washington) first legalized cannabis. After years of being able to test a product (through the illicit market), being able to only see the product in a package and whatever data was included on the labels was a big change. THC and CBD percentages were often the only information provided. But high numbers often came with harsh, often disappointing product. Now I'm educating myself on terpenes, as well as looking for pesticides used on the products. As a result, I'm often selecting products with lower percentages. These products tend to taste much better and have a great high. Educating consumers makes a difference.
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