When browsing products in a dispensary, you’ll notice some products with higher THC than others. Should you choose a strain based on THC content? Do strains with high THC always get you higher than something less potent?
The truth, as with all things, is a little more complicated than it may seem initially. In this article, we’ll do a deep dive into the various factors that contribute to your experience.
Checking Out THC Content at a Dispensary
We live in a culture that generally suggests more is better.
For example, the saying “you get what you pay for” implies that spending more for a specific product means that you’re paying for quality.
Over the years, this mentality has seeped into every industry, including marijuana products.
When it comes to cannabis, one misconception is that more THC equals a “higher” high. After all, other substances such as alcohol work that way. High proof liquor will have a more intoxicating effect than a generic watered-down beer.
Medications, whether they are over-the-counter or prescription, also have more impact with higher dosage.
So when it comes to cannabis, will more THC produce a more intense high?
Actually – not necessarily.
The cannabis plant is extremely complex. Cannabinoids like THC are just one of the many factors that impact your experience. That’s not to say that THC content doesn’t matter at all! Instead, what’s important is the way that THC interacts with your brain.
In other words, you should definitely look at the THC content when visiting a dispensary, but it shouldn’t be the only factor to consider.
Understanding How Cannabinoids and Terpenes Impact Your Experience
It’s no secret that THC produces the classic psychoactive high that is associated with marijuana. Still, there are many other cannabinoids with varying levels of psychoactivity that can impact how THC binds with the cannabinoid 1 (CB1) receptors in the brain.
Low doses of CBD, for example, are believed to enhance your high from THC. The inverse is true. If you’ve gotten too high off THC and need something to even it out, a CBD tincture can help curb the intensity.
All About the Terpenes
Terpenes are a little different from cannabinoids. These are the molecules that create the unique flavor and aroma in cannabis plants. Every strain of cannabis has its own unique terpene profile. Similar to CBD, these terpenes interact with the cannabis molecules to create a specific high.
This synergy between CBD and THC is also called the “entourage effect”.
Cannabis connoisseurs or more experienced users in general are more likely to pay attention to the terpene profile of a specific strain.
While most consumers remember certain strains for their effects, it’s often the terpenes rather than the THC percentage that is responsible for the high.
For example, an experience of elevated mood, alertness, and memory retention are associated with the terpenes pinene and limonene, not with a specific THC percentage.
On the other hand, the “in-da-couch” indica feeling comes from terpenes such as myrcene and linalool. Again, the sensation is linked more to the specific terpenes and not the THC level.
How to Find the Right Marijuana Strain for You
Walking into a dispensary can sometimes feel more like walking into a science lab than a candy shop. There are so many options and so many different numbers, ratios, and percentages to keep in mind. Fortunately, there are some tried and true methods you can use to find the right strain for you.
Know your tolerance.
The newer you are to marijuana, you may want to find a strain that is lower in THC and higher in CBD. This provides all the benefits without an intense psychoactive high. More experienced users, however, might prefer experimenting with different ratios or terpene profiles.
Research strains online.
If you Google “dispensaries near me,” you should be able to find the strains that are in stock in your local area. Review the menu of your chosen dispensary, and remember that each strain is unique.
Some might provide a burst of energy while others promote relaxation. It’s important to know what you want, and then try to find a strain that meets your needs. Websites like Leafly.com do a good job of detailing the THC percentage, terpenes, and effects of each strain.
Also, be sure to check out the dispensary’s Google ratings to determine whether or not it’s a shop worth visiting.
Consult your budtenders.
Even after you research strains online, you might still have questions. We don’t blame you! It’s a lot to take in at first. A good dispensary will have budtenders who are willing to listen to your questions and help guide you in the right direction.
Finding the right strain for you is part science and part art. You can do your research, but you won’t truly know how you will react to a strain until you try it.
If you’re on this journey for the long haul, keep track of the different strains you’ve tried, as well as the pros and cons of each. Over time, you’ll have a better understanding of what you like, dislike, and prefer.
Stay mindful, enjoy, and good luck!