After the Strain name, there’s one other piece of information we see on the dispensary shelves. The THC percentage. Sure, higher THC levels are usually an indicator of quality but is THC the most important thing to look for in Cannabis?
THC is a great piece of information to have but it’s not the whole story. The mix and rations of terpenes and other cannabinoids (which includes THC) are going to have a much more pronounced effect than just the THC alone. Luckily, through the magic of chemistry, we can now look into exactly what is in our weed and have a pretty good idea of how our systems will react to it.
The Entourage Effect: It’s best we touch on this first. The cannabis plant has spent hundreds of years perfecting its mix of chemicals and compounds so it’s no surprise that we see the greatest results when we keep it all together. In concert, these oils and cannabinoids work together to create greater effects than they would on their own. More effective, faster acting and longer lasting.
Though we’ve discovered over 100 Cannabinoids in the flower we love, these are the most abundant and most likely to be found on a lab test of the herb you’ve been smoking. Chosen for their interesting or medicinal qualities, this is the handful of major cannabinoids we test for in cannabis.
This is the other major compound in cannabis. Often called the “feel good” part of the plant, CBD gives most people relief from anxiety. CBD is not intoxicating which makes it appealing to folks who are looking for the relief from cannabis but not a THC experience. With THC, especially at that magical 1:1 ratio CBD starts to have the same relaxing, destressing effects as a long bubble bath.
This is the psychoactive compound, and most pronounced in the bunch. THC has been known to elevate moods all the way up to a sense of euphoria. Even in small amounts it can increase appetites and reduce nausea or inflammation. In larger quantities, you might experience time dilation, which is just a way of saying you can lose track of how long it’s been since you last asked: “what were we just talking about?”. THC on its own is rather one-note and is really elevated by the other terpenes and cannabinoids present.
A minor cannabinoid (usually less than 1% of the flower) CBG is one of the most medicinally interesting cannabinoids. A great vasodilator, CBG reduces eye pressure and inflammation, great for glaucoma patients or those with high blood pressure. Both breeders and scientists are looking have CBG in their sites and we will be seeing more of this cannabinoid the more we reveal its benefits.
THCA degrades to CBN. So the longer your weed sits around or the more exposure it has to heat and light, the more you’ll get tired instead of stoned. Though this is a rather slow transformation it’s a good reminder to keep your weed well sealed and not to let it sit around for too long.
Also a minor cannabinoid, CBC has been shown to have analgesic properties, particularly when partnered with CBD. Also non-intoxicating, CBC has shown to improve moods and is currently being studied as an antidepressant. Like the other beneficial compounds, CBC also shines as an antiviral and antifungal.
Known to be more psychoactive and clear-headed than THC, THCV is being studied as an appetite suppressant and stimulant. It’s a clear-headed and stimulating effect is prized in some strains but not always what we expect from cannabis. As we dive deeper into THCV don’t be surprised if you see an espresso spiked with this stimulating cannabinoid for a doubly invigorating brew. Vaporized at higher temps, you’ll want to turn your vaporizer up to really take advantage.
Cannabicyclol acid is both anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor, but most remarkable because it withstands super high temps. Luckily for us, edibles like brownies that have been in a not so gentle heating process (the oven) still hold this beneficial cannabinoid.
Keep an eye out for our Terpene primer to further dive into this beautifully complex plant!