When buying cannabis at a legal retailer, the percentages you see on the package for THC and CBD levels can sometimes get a little confusing, especially for those just starting out. If you’ve ever wondered what all these numbers mean, you’ve come to the right place.
You may have noticed before that the labels on a package will list a smaller number for THC than it does for Total THC, which reflects the percentage level. You’ve probably thought to yourself “where did the other milligrams come from??” To keep a long story short, the reason you see two different sets of numbers is because of a term known as decarboxylation.
As complicated as that may sound, simply put, decarboxylation is the process of applying heat to the bud to feel the effects of getting high. When you light up a joint, or bake a batch of edibles, the THC becomes decarboxylated and essentially activates the psychoactive effects of the flower.
The number “3 mg/g” you see on the label, represents how much THC exists in a single gram of the flower before you heat it up. When the flower is burned or cooked (AKA decarboxylated), the number of “181 mg/g” is how much THC you actually end up ingesting, hence the 178 mg difference.
Now, a common assumption people tend to make is that higher THC percentage equals a stronger high. While the percentage can certainly be a basis for comparison, this assumption may not always be accurate.
The truth is, as you’ve probably heard before, the effects of cannabis are different for everybody. The same 18% strain that may make you feel nice and relaxed, could also end up knocking one of your friends out until noon the next day. And this effect may be caused by something more than just tolerance.
The Entourage Effect
THC and CBD are cannabinoids, chemical compounds found in cannabis. What you may not know is that these compounds are only two of over 100 different cannabinoids found in the plant, meaning there’s more than 100 different compounds, aside from THC and CBD, that can interact with your body when using cannabis.
Terpenes are also said to play a significant role in a strain’s effects (if you don’t know what a terpene is, check out our blog post What Even is a Terpene). Essentially, researchers are looking into how the feeling of getting high is not only caused by THC and CBD, but also how these compounds interact with other cannabinoids in a particular strain, along with the terpenes, to create a joint effort (no pun intended). This is known as the entourage effect.
The entourage effect suggests that, with all the possible cannabinoids and terpenes present, the effects of a particular bud may have more to do with how these compounds interact with one’s body chemistry than just THC alone. Think of it as how people sometimes differentiate the feelings of getting “wine drunk,” and “beer drunk,” and even prefer one from the other.
Overall, the point here is that there is more to the experience of getting high than simply THC percentage. While you may find a 25% strain that blasts you off to space every night, it might also be that the cannabinoids and terpenes of that bud, simply fit right for you.
Word from the Wise
Our suggestion: use the percentages as a guideline, but don’t take it as the end all, be all. Play around with different strains and see which one works best for you. No two strains are alike, and no two bodies either. Who knows? You may even find a 15% that hits harder than a 25%, simply because of how the cannabinoids and terpenes interact with your body.
If you’re interested in comparing some buds with varying THC percentages, here’s a list of 6 picks that you should check out!
- Mango Haze: 4% – 10% (Available in Brampton & Windsor)
- Indica Bud: 12% – 17% (Available in Scarborough)
- Super Lemon Haze Sativa: 17% – 23% (Available in Brampton)
- Limelight: 20% – 26% (Available in Brampton & St. Thomas)
- Kosher Kush: 21% – 27% (Available in Brampton & St. Thomas)
- Sunset: 23% – 29% (Available in St. Thomas)