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Do THC Percentages Matter?

Updated: May 21

Science Reveals The Cannabis Industry’s Greatest Lie: You’re Buying Weed Wrong (And So Is Everyone Else)


THC content have nothing to do with how “good” the weed is, as recent research conducted by the University of Colorado and published in JAMA Psychiatry found, THC content is also a poor indicator of potency.


High-THC weed doesn’t even get you “more high”! Researchers at the University of Colorado at Boulder’s Institute of Cognitive Science documented the experiences of 121 cannabis users. Half the study participants were users of cannabis concentrates—very-high THC cannabis extracts—and the other half preferred cannabis flower.


Both groups received cannabis at varying “strengths”: flower users tried cannabis flower at either 16 percent or 24 percent THC, and extract users received oil at either 70 percent or 90 percent THC. Researchers checked study participants’ blood and monitored their mood, cognitive function, and intoxication level before, immediately after, and one hour after use.


As the researchers expected, the concentrate users had very high levels of THC in their bodies after use. But they weren’t “more high.”


In fact, every participants’ self-reported “highness” was about the same—“as were their measures of balance and cognitive impairment,” as CU noted in a news release. Medium THC flower, high-THC flower—all the same high! This was not what the researchers were expecting.

“People in the high concentration group were much less compromised than we thought they would be,” said coauthor Kent Hutchinson, a professor of psychology who studies addiction, in a CU news release. “If we gave people that high a concentration of alcohol it would have been a different story.”

Consider the cannabis flower users. Sixteen percent THC compared to 24 percent THC is a big difference—50 percent “stronger.” How can users of such differnet “strength” products report such similar psychoactive effects?


The short answer is a theory that cannabis connoisseurs and cannabis scientists have been saying for years: There are many more factors at play than THC. Put slightly longer: Judging a cannabis strain on its THC content is not unlike judging a film based on the lead actor. The THC number isn’t going to be an indicator of the performance. (source: Chris Roberts, Forbes)




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