Skip to main content

Looking Beyond THC Percentages

By Amanda Ferron

Let’s be real… Before legalization, I was just happy if the plug had some good weed. 

I kill plants… I’ve had horrible luck growing my own Cannabis. So pre-dispensary on every corner in California era, I had to rely on my friendly neighborhood weed dealer to get my meds. You knew by smell, look, and taste that the weed was fire… That was all you had to go on. (Those are still things you should pay attention to… Just saying) But as long as it was good weed, I was happy. No one was concerned about percentages. And I know I wasn’t the only “average consumer” who felt that way. (Of course we would get excited over certain strains, but strain hype is a story for another time…) 

However, since legalization, it seems like that the “average consumer” has been highly focused on one thing in particular: THC Percentages. 

THC Percentages have been the center of attention the past few years. The higher the THC percentage, the quicker the product seems to fly off dispensary shelves. But many Cannabis industry pros are trying to remind consumers that THC percentage is NOT everything! 

Here are few things Cannabis connoisseurs are saying you should look for as well.

Package Date:

Whether you are consuming edibles, beverages, or good ol’ Cannabis flowers, you always want your products to be fresh. One of the first questions I ask when I’m making my selections at the dispensary is always: “How fresh is it? What’s the harvest or package date?” Now, while I will admit that older product doesn’t necessarily mean BAD product… If it’s packaged and stored properly, than it should have a pretty decent shelf life. But, the taste, the texture, and the aroma are all sure to be better when you have a fresher product. 

Also, consuming older can be a bit harsh, and lead to more coughing when you’re smoking or vaping it. And while I know a lot of us grew up in Cannabis hearing “Cough to get off!”… Too much coughing is never fun. Let’s be real, I’ll throw my back out coughing nowadays!! The fresher the product, the better. So be sure to check the label, or ask your Budtender to see the “Package Date” or “Harvest Date” on the products you buy.

Cannabinoid Profile: 

If you’re an OG or in the Cannabis Industry, you should already know what Cannabinoids are. But for those of you who are just getting into consuming Cannabis, a Cannabinoid is a compound that occurs naturally in Cannabis plants (and in your body). They work with your bodies Endocannabinoid System to help your body reach homeostasis. The Cannabinoid that most people have been focused on for years, as I mentioned before, is THC. 

Though you should still obviously take THC % into account, there are other Cannabinoids you should be considering as well. As both Cannabis science and extraction methods advance, we are discovering new cannabinoids, and the advantages they may have. THC and CBD are definitely the most well known, but that list is growing bigger every day.

CBG, THCa, CBN, THCv, Delta 8 THC… Each unique and powerful in their own way. Struggling with sleep? Look for a product high in CBN. Want an anti-inflammatory that won’t get you high? Give THCa a try! The world of Cannabinoids has so much more to offer than just THC and CBD. I have really high anxiety, and I find Delta-8 THC to be really helpful. But every body is different! So don’t be afraid to do a little research on what Cannabinoid might be most advantageous for you to consume.

Terpene Profile:

“What’s in a name? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” Well, that rose smells sweet because it has terpenes! Terpenes are chemicals that occur naturally in plants, and some animals. They are what gives plants their smell, taste, and sometimes it also adds some color as well. Research is starting to show that terpenes also play a role in how cannabinoids are absorbed into and carried in your bloodstream. 

Terpenes and Cannabinoids work together to create an “entourage effect” in your body. One of my favorite ways that I’ve heard this explained: Picture it like an Orchestra… One Cannabinoid, like THC, could be a lone violin. Still capable of making beautiful music, of course… But add in other cannabinoids and terpenes, a figurative strings section or full Orchestra along with it? You’ve got yourself a Symphony.

Terpenes have been utilized in aromatherapy for many, many years… As in THOUSANDS of years. And each terpene not only has a unique taste and smell, but they also have different effects on your body. And, as I mentioned before, they help your body absorb Cannabinoids. So the more terpenes you’re ingesting along with your Cannabinoids, the more of those Cannabinoids are actually getting into your bloodstream. 

Have you ever heard that old rumor about how eating mangos before you eat gets you a little extra high? That is because mangos are high in a terpene called Myrcene. Myrcene is known to have sedative/relaxing properties, so it really can aid your Cannabis in making you a little extra chill. Terpenes like Linalool and Limonene are also known for their anti-anxiety and pain killing properties. What do all these terpenes have in common? They are all found in Cannabis! So finding a strain with the proper terpene ratio is critical when you’re looking for therapeutic benefits. 

Where Can You Find This Info???

Now that you know a few extra things to look for in your Cannabis products, you probably want to know where you can find this information! Most companies are now putting QR codes on their packaging. You scan the QR code, and that is going to bring you to the products COA, or Certificate of Analysis. California Cannabis companies (and companies in other states, I’m sure…) are required to put their products through testing before being able to sell it in a dispensary. These tests should be conducted by state certified labs, and that lab should be listed on the COA. Here, you will find a complete breakdown of different Cannabinoids and Terpenes. Plus, it will show how the product did when tested for nasty things like mold, metals, and pesticides. 

Some companies, like the Maven Genetics I am currently smoking on, put things like total Cannabinoid % and Terpene % directly on their label. Maven even goes a step further, and includes a little card in each package, giving an outline on the strain, its genetics, terpene profile, possible effects, and even flavor profile! Making it that much easier for consumers to understand what they are buying, where it is coming from, and how it’s going to affect them. (LOVE the attention to detail, Maven Genetics!)

You are now armed with some of the basic knowledge you will need to get the most bang for your buck when purchasing Cannabis products. So next time you go to your local dispensary, you can look beyond the THC percentages, and find a product perfectly suited to your needs. 

Happy Hunting!