Selecting a strain of cannabis is very similar to selecting a bottle of quality wine. There are hundreds of options, some more affordable than others. The name of the strain or the type of wine suggests an experience with a unique flavor profile and pairing of some sort -- whether that pairing is a set of wellness concerns or a meal.
THC percentage is the most misunderstood factor when selecting a strain of cannabis. People with limited experience often think they should choose a strain of cannabis with a low THC percentage, while experienced users tend to gravitate towards higher percentages.
In theory, this is a sound way to approach the selection process. In practice, cannabis isn’t always so simple. THC percentage isn’t similar to alcohol percentage, and the process shouldn’t be approached the same way.
What Is THC Percentage?
THC percentage refers to the amount of THC cannabis contained by its dry weight. Percentages directly correlate to milligrams per gram. One gram of cannabis at 25% THC contains 250 milligrams of cannabis per gram.
The average joint of rolled cannabis measures out at one gram and is typically used as a single serving size. One serving would be 250 milligrams in this case. Other cannabinoids are measured the same way. Hemp users and those who use CBD for wellness benefits can easily translate this information to their favorite strains of CBD flower.
What THC Percentage Means in Terms of Your Cannabis
THC percentage is often regarded as the potency or strength of a cannabis strain. THC does not work like many other psychoactive substances. While it is natural to assume that a greater THC level would lead to a greater level of impairment, this is simply not the case.
Studies that compare the performance of individuals who used lower THC strains of cannabis against individuals who used higher THC strains of cannabis found that their level of impairment was essentially the same. A 30% THC strain of cannabis won’t pose twice the cognitive impairment effects as a 15% THC strain of cannabis, despite the fact that the 30% strain appears to be twice as strong.
Cannabis is More Than the Sum of Its THC
If THC percentage were the defining factor of a strain, there wouldn’t be almost 800 recognized strains of cannabis. Each strain is created for its vast combination of characteristics. Cannabis contains over 100 naturally occurring cannabinoids and dozens of aromatic compounds called terpenes and flavonoids. These factors work together to make each strain unique.
In reality, THC is one of the least important components of cannabis. Two strains with the same amount of THC will produce entirely different effects. For example, King Louis and Sour Diesel are two strains very close in their THC content, but they couldn’t be any more different.
Compare these strains to Green Crack, which has less THC on average than either strain. Many people won’t touch this strain because they feel that its cerebral effects are overwhelming and unmanageable. If the THC made the rules, that wouldn’t be the case.
While THC will affect you cognitively, the experience of how “high” you are or the way you feel is the product of other factors relating to the strain of cannabis you use.
THC Doesn’t Directly Correlate to Noteworthy Benefits
Although THC and its synthetic variations have been used across multiple studies to measure this cannabinoid's effects for temporary relief, most results are mixed. Studies using low doses of THC will sometimes produce significant findings, and studies using high amounts of THC will sometimes report insignificant findings. Despite this, many people feel that certain strains of cannabis temporarily help to relieve discomfort.
Dr. Ethan Russo postulates that the effects of cannabis are predicated on something called the entourage effect. THC on its own doesn’t do very much besides cause cognitive impairment. It needs to work with hundreds of other naturally occurring compounds found in the plant to produce unique and meaningful benefits.
Russo’s research suggests that the way you feel is a result of everything in the plant, rather than a single compound. This means that THC isn’t a good indicator of a strain’s ability to impart the benefits its users are looking for.
Purchasing Cannabis According to its Effects
THC content doesn’t really matter when all is said and done because the THC isn’t what’s solely responsible for creating the experience. If you’re concerned with cognitive impairment, it’s better to choose a strain that’s known for keeping its users clear-headed.
The guiding force in your cannabis purchasing decision should always be a strain’s effect profile. Using that strain appropriately is the second part of creating a satisfactory cannabis experience. Strains known to increase focus aren’t a good choice for bedtime, and strains used to stimulate appetite won’t give you energy.
You need to know what you want before you go to the dispensary, even if you don’t know what the strain itself is called. Create a list of effects in order of priorities and bring it to your budtender.
Give Your Cannabis a Smell Test
Cannabis is a naturally aromatic plant, and your sense of smell will guide you in the right direction.
Just like walking into a kitchen, you’ll react to the aroma immediately. The smell of your favorite cookies baking fills you with joy. The smell of foods you don’t like, such as the sulfur smell of hard-boiled eggs or the pungent smell of raw onions, might turn your stomach. Your nose knows, and you should be listening to it.
All cannabis naturally has an earthy herbal smell, but surrounding that aroma will be other aromas. If you cannot stand the scent of a particular strain, it isn’t going to work for you. If you enjoy the scent or at least don’t find it bothersome, that strain may warrant further investigation.
Smelling your cannabis is very similar to aromatherapy. Certain aromatic terpenes tend to shift our moods and emotional states. Citrus smells (terpene limonene) tend to make people feel more alert. Lavender smells (terpene linalool) usually promote relaxation.
A single whiff of cannabis will provide you with a wealth of information. The smell test gives you an idea of what effects you can expect from the strain when you smoke it. Smell it before you try it.
Experience Several Strains
Many people don’t find a sole strain of cannabis that functions perfectly at all times. Our needs change throughout the day according to our itinerary. You’ll likely need various strains for different purposes, and you may undergo a selection process.
If you’re seeking a strain that will energize you, it helps to try a few. Keep notes of your experiences and note the strains you’ve tried in the Stori app. You’ll be able to compare and contrast strains, allowing you to narrow down the varieties that work best for your needs.
Find and Cherish Your Winners with Stori
The THC level of a strain isn’t all that important. What matters most is how you feel when you use that strain.
Many people find that building cannabis libraries is the optimal solution for their needs. Having a selection of different strains to choose from, depending on your mood and your desired set of benefits, will allow you to have a perfect experience every time.
Stori’s Stash Box is equipped with six storage pods that feature color-coded lids to keep your stash organized. Each pod is fitted with a humidity control pack to help your cannabis stay fresh for longer. The aluminum pods are designed to block out UV light and prevent static charges that may damage the cannabinoid-rich trichomes on your flower.
The stash box locks closed, and the pods are equipped with child-protective and pet-resistant caps for safety.
Integrating your Stash Box with the Stori app will help you locate your favorite strains and keep track of your inventory. You can rate strains and add notes about your experiences, allowing you to dial in your preferences and find your personal gold standard of cannabis.