When going to a dispensary, the percentage of THC vs CBD in a strain is usually the first thing many people think about. This is critical information, of course, because high THC can be very intoxicating. However, choosing a strain based on THC vs CBD potency is not always the best way to decide which strain will be best for you. Different cannabis strains may have similar percentages of THC and CBD but they may still feel very different.
This post will explain why potency is not the ultimate decider and offer better ways for you to choose strains.
“Which One Has High THC Content?”
That’s the question our budtenders are used to hearing from patients or recreational users when they shop for strains. Customers often think THC potency is the value proposition.
Look, just like you may prefer a beer one night and wine the next, the same holds true for cannabis. Different cannabis strains have different pleasures when it comes to smell, taste, and feeling. With a little trial-and-error, you can find the perfect strain for your needs. It doesn’t have to be all about THC.
You may have heard about the theory that terpenes—essential and aromatic oils of the plant— together with cannabinoids—compounds such as THC or CBD — are what ultimately dictate the benefits of a particular strain. This theory is called the “entourage effect” and it promotes the idea that the whole plant is more beneficial than just cannabinoids for treating ailments or giving you the high you want.
In other words, that super high-potency strain may work for you, but there are other options with lower potency that may work even better.
Terpenes are what give cannabis its smell. Some people prefer skunky smells. Others prefer sweet or fruity. Those differences are based on the terpene profile. That terpene profile also affects how the cannabinoids affect you. This terpene infographic by Leafly may help you decide which to focus on.
For example, CBD is known to be a neural protectant that has helped control seizures, depression, anxiety, etc. (though more studies are being done to ascertain a causal link). When people are consuming a CBD plant with one profile of terpenes, they might get a different effect than consuming a different CBD plant with a different terpene profile.
There are over 200 terpenes out there. Myrcene, a very common terpene, gives off a sweet smell. Limonene has a citrus aroma. Pinene smells like—you guessed it—pine.
Which Strain Should I Choose?
It might be trial and error before you find the strain that works for you. Take copious notes on what you took and felt so you’ll be better informed the next time.
And remember that some of the better strains out there aren’t high THC. It’s the combination of the flavors and the terpenes that are paired with the THC and the cannabinoids that make it effective.
If all this sounds daunting, there is one tip that is easy to remember: To avoid the intoxication of high THC, try a strain that’s high in CBD instead. CBD is not intoxicating like THC and is known for reducing anxiety and relaxing without sedating.