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Does cannabinoid count in cannabis matter?

Published Jun 8, 2021 01:00 p.m. ET
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We’ve always heard the terms THC and CBD used to advertise cannabis products, but very few consumers understand what this means. Yes, we know! It’s incredibly frustrating to get sold on an idea that isn’t exactly transparent, and it’s important to understand that we’re not saying that high cannabinoid strains are of lower quality. In fact, they are typically bred for that characteristic specifically, but there are other just as important things to look out for, and we’re here to explain why that is.

What is THC?

THC is the recreational consumer’s dream and a medical patient's salvation. It’s the powerful psychoactive element that the cannabis plant is most known for and often considered to be the primary and only truly important cannabinoid.

What is CBD?

CBD works on a different level, in a way that you might not necessarily feel in the same way as THC. In some cases, you might not feel it at all, as its influence is much more discreet. Typically, it is used as a medical aid to relieve common symptoms due to inflammation, injury, and degenerative conditions, but some recreational consumers swear by its effectiveness at bolstering the intensity of THC.

Will a high THC strain induce the most intense effects?

This is the ultimate question, after all, CBD is not felt in the same way, and it’s typically recreational users who are sold on the idea of a superior high THC strain that can offer an experience like no other. Though there is no denying that many high THC strains will have the potential to cause the strongest effects, picking a 29% THC strain doesn’t necessarily guarantee a more potent buzz.

Why not?

Well, we aren’t entirely sure why this is, but we do know that there are likely a few different factors at play here, like the fact that each cannabis plant boasts a profile of terpenes that is inherently unique due to its genetics and environmental factors, as we know that aromatics can produce similarly intense sensations under the right conditions.


We also know that there are hundreds of other cannabinoid types inside of cannabis and that we’ve barely scratched the surface after years of scientific research of what they can do, so a combination of both of these factors is believed to be responsible for this discrepancy. Another illuminating factor seems to be tolerance, with some developing the ability to feel less through exposure, but no one knows for certain why this happens in every single case.

Are high CBD strains more effective?

Most experts actually recommend starting out with relatively low doses of CBD, because it is the only cannabinoid that we’re aware of that slowly builds up in the system, which means that it’s impossible to build up a tolerance to it. The longer you take it, the more you will have within, and that means that you’ll actually need lower doses eventually, unlike any other conventional medicine on the market today.

So while some people might require more CBD for effective relief from symptoms, taking too much of it really doesn’t have any positive or negative effect, so it’s kind of a waste if you’re wasting your hard-earned cash on strains with high CBD when one with a lower dose might produce the same results you’re looking for.

How to ensure that you get the ideal experience

The best way to know which strains work for you is to experiment. Though it might be tempting to always spring for the so-called higher quality types, it’s not always worth the difference in the long run, because there is no guarantee that the cannabinoid amount will have much if any effect on you at all.

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