Why Highest THC Level Isn’t Always the Best for You?

Why is it then that we frequently see customers walking into a dispensary and asking the budtender for the strongest strain, or the highest testing THC strain? The higher the THC content, the higher you will get, right? Wrong. There are other factors to take into consideration when making your cannabis purchase, but why aren’t these being looked at more frequently?

One of the reasons is due to the lack of education. Unfortunately because of the Federal classification of cannabis as a Schedule 1 illegal drug there isn’t enough research being done on the effects of cannabis on our bodies. There isn’t government funding being allocated to the creation of scientific studies that the public can reference while doing their due diligence in researching what cannabis product is best for them. THC is the most commonly known cannabinoid so it’s what people focus in on. But to get the most beneficial high, the public must be willing to explore beyond THC and understand the cumulative effects of the entire plant.

Here are some things to take into consideration when purchasing cannabis.

High THC Content Isn’t Always Key


If a cannabis strain is high in only THC, frequently it is lacking other essential phytocannabinoids. This can lessen the effect of the THC by restricting the ability of the Entourage Effect. The Entourage Effect occurs when a full spectrum of phytocannabinoids are introduced versus one specific cannabinoid such as THC or CBD. This is why many people find more success with full extraction whole plant therapy vs. isolated THC or CBD compounds.

Many times people find that strains averaging 14 to 18% THC are more than sufficient to get the job done. Cannabis strains that average 22 to 32% THC typically do not have a pleasing taste, and the overall effects from it are not as enjoyable as that of a lower THC profile plant.

The Terpene Aspect

High THC strains of cannabis also are commonly void of valuable terpenes. Terpenes help to influence the way cannabis is absorbed by the body’s CB1 and CB2 receptors. Terpenes influence the entourage effect to help create a balance that is slightly different or could be somewhat different for each consumer.

What You Should Consider When Purchasing Cannabis

There are many different factors to consider when purchasing cannabis. Here are a few:

Dry Bud = Minimal Resin and Cannabinoid Rich Oils

Having buds that are not brittle and to dry is very important. If your buds are too dry, they will be lacking the necessary oil and resin content to produce sufficient results.

Properly Cured Cannabis is the Best

Being sure that the cannabis your purchasing is adequately cured should also be paramount in your decision.

The Smell Test

Smelling cannabis is another way to help determine how rich the terpene profile is. By taking three sniffs through your nose of the bud you’re looking at buying you can often determine its quality.

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The first sniff is a short one to pull the smell into your nose hairs.
The second sniff is slightly longer to get it to the back of your nose.
The third one is a long sniff so that you can almost taste the terpenes on your palate.
If you take 3 sniffs of some weed and can’t smell it or it doesn’t smell good to you chances are it’s not going to be the product you’re looking for.

How To Determine The Terpene Profile Of Your Flower

There are a couple of ways to determine the terpene content of your flower.

The most accurate method is to obtain terpene test results that have been performed by an accredited laboratory. A few forward-thinking dispensaries, including Zion Cannabis in SW Portland, make this easy for you by listing the terpene profiles of each type of flower right on their menu.

Other dispensaries have terpene test results available for some (but not all) of their flower if you inquire, so it never hurts to ask your budtender to dig into a particular flower’s test results and verify whether terpene testing was performed.

What Combination Of Terpenes Is Right For You?

Just like a fine whiskey or wine, cannabis comes with many flavors and subtleties, many of which are deeply influenced by the plant’s terpene content. So when selecting your cannabis, it’s important to consider the effects you’re seeking.

Are you using cannabis to relax and unwind? To energize? To aid your sleep, ease your pain, or calm your anxiety? Do you like a heady high or a body high? A lighter or a heavier effect? Do you have any medical concerns you’d like to address using cannabis?

Take The THC/Terpene Challenge


Go ahead, we dare you: During your next visit to a dispensary, purchase a variety of different strains ranging in THC, CBD, and terpene content — and try each one out for yourself. Pay careful attention to the smell of each flower, the terpene concentrations as indicated by laboratory testing, and your budtender’s recommendations.

As you consume your cannabis, take note of the subtle (or not so subtle) differences in how each variety affects you. How does your body feel? Do you feel couch-locked or energized, sleepy or creative, anxious or euphoric? How strong of a buzz do you get from each strain in relation to your comfort level?

When a 14% strain knocks you off your ass or you finally find a variety that calms rather than agitates your anxious mind, you’ll know firsthand: There is so much more to cannabis than just THC.

  • Zenpype.com is an educational website dedicated to shedding the light on many sides of medical and recreational cannabis. Aside from informing people about cannabis, we also provide cannabis seeds and CBD products. Readers who show their support with purchasing, help us keep doing this. Thank you for your support and for helping us improve!

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