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Are Terpenes More Important Than THC Percentage?

Terpenes | Source: Unsplash

Most cannabis consumers buy their weed based on two primary things: strain name and THC percentage.

But, if you’re buying your herb based on its name and THC content, new studies show that you’re doing it wrong. What you should be shopping for is pungency. The plant’s aroma is a legitimate sign that terpenes are present. Your body may respond to some strains better than others, which is why it is critical to know and understand your own body chemistry.

A cannabis’ strain name won’t tell you much about the biology or the genetic makeup of the bud. Theoretically, if you cross two strains together and come up with a new strain, you could give it any name that you wanted.

THC percentage is not an equation of potency.

When shopping for your product, rather than asking about the percentage of THC and the name, its much more important to pay attention to the quality before you put it in your body and the effect of the product once you put it in your body.

If the bud has a weak smell then that means that the terpenes have evaporated out of the plant. Terpenes are essential oils and made up of hydrocarbon molecules. Those oils determine whether your cannabis will be a stimulant (sativa) or a sedative (indica).

Indica vs Sativa effects chart

If you can smell a pungent, skunky scent then that means more terpenes are present in the product and you can assume that the ganja is actually quality.

The presence of THC in a product is an equation of the percentage divided by the weight of the herb to the THC.

Contrary to popular belief, the amount of THC that is crossing the blood-brain barrier does not depend how much THC is actually present in the product. It helps to think of essential oils as chaperones that escort THC to the brain.

THC percentage equation

If you have an older strain that is 20% THC and you compare it to a fresher strain with only 10% THC, the strain with 20% THC will have significantly less terpenes due to its age. Less terpenes present in the product means there will be less chemistry between the THC and the carrier oils compared to the fresher, younger strain with 10%.

The equation of bioavailability.

Bioavailability is a major factor in determining how well a cannabis product will work. It is the measure of the amount of a dose that reaches the bloodstream. An easier way to understand this is to think “How much of this biology (THC and terpene presence) is available to me.”

It also help to understand that CBD and hemp are both psychoactive. Common misconception due to cannabis propaganda has led a lot of us to believe that the term psychoactive means intoxicated. The term psychoactive is defined as anything that crosses the blood brain barrier to modulate brain chemistry in some way.

Much of this information is still very new. Gone are the days of purchasing cannabis strains based solely on THC percentage. A new age of information is upon is. As we continue to see advancements in technology, expect more new findings about cannabis to arise!

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