THC is perhaps the most well-known cannabinoid within cannabis. THC, short for tetrahydrocannabinol, is famously responsible for cannabis’s psychoactive effects. Because of this, many cannabis users assume that a strain with a higher THC percentage will always be more heavy-hitting and have stronger psychoactive effects. But does more THC actually mean stronger effects?
The short answer to this question is no, a higher THC percentage doesn’t always lead to stronger effects. If you ask any group of cannabis users which strains affect them more strongly, you’d hear many different answers. And if you were to compare the THC percentages within those answers, you’d see quite a wide range of percentages, including plenty of lower percentages. That’s because THC is far from the only thing in cannabis that affects how you’ll feel after using it. There are over 420 known compounds in cannabis, and all of these compounds can affect how a certain strain makes you feel.
While all of the compounds in cannabis can affect the way it makes you feel, there are some compounds that play a bigger role: cannabinoids and terpenes. The various cannabinoids within cannabis can all have effects of their own, and can also change the effects of coexisting cannabinoids. Then, terpenes may be best known for their aromas, but they may also play a major role in how different strains of cannabis work.
Wondering how cannabinoids and terpenes change the effects of a certain strain? Below, we’ll talk in detail about how cannabinoids and terpenes can affect the body, and how cannabinoids and terpenes can affect individuals differently.
THC and Other Cannabinoids
To understand how cannabinoids such as THC work, you need to understand the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is a complex regulatory system we all have in our bodies. While the research surrounding the ECS is still in its infancy, preliminary research shows that the ECS may play a role in regulating many nervous system processes, like appetite, mood, and pain.
Your body contains natural cannabinoids that interact with your ECS all day long. Then, when you use cannabis, you introduce new cannabinoids which also interact with your ECS. When THC interacts with the ECS, it produces psychoactive effects. But there are many other cannabinoids within cannabis that also interact with your ECS. These cannabinoids provide various effects of their own, but they can also affect how THC interacts with your ECS.
To give an example of how other cannabinoids affect the way THC works, let’s take a look at cannabidiol (CBD). Out of all the cannabinoids in cannabis, CBD seems to have the biggest impact on how THC interacts with the body. If you’ve tried strains with a wide range of THC to CBD ratios, you’ve probably noticed for yourself that CBD tends to soften the effects of THC. For example, strains with a more balanced THC to CBD ratio will usually have much milder psychoactive effects. Then, strains with a very high THC to CBD ratio will generally have much stronger psychoactive effects.
THC to CBD ratio is just one example of how a strain’s cannabinoid profile can change how cannabis affects the body. Cannabinoids like CBN, CBG, CBC, and more can also affect a strain’s performance. So while THC content certainly matters when it comes to a strain’s effects, other cannabinoids also play a big role in how you feel after using cannabis.
Terpenes are another cannabis compound that can impact how a strain makes you feel. They are organic compounds that exist in many plants, including cannabis plants. Terpenes are responsible for the lovely aromas within cannabis. There are over 200 terpenes that can be present in cannabis, and each has its own distinct aroma and taste.
But in addition to having their own unique aromas, it’s believed that terpenes may have their own unique effects. As with many types of cannabis research, the research around cannabis terpenes is in its early stages. But some research shows that terpenes may play a key role in how various cannabis strains affect the body. So, if you’re looking for a particular effect from your cannabis, it’s a good idea to look into terpenes and understand their potential effects.
So what do the different terpenes do? Below, we’ll go over some common cannabis terpenes and outline their potential effects.
Aroma: Earthy, Herbal, Musky, Cloves, Notes of Tropical Fruit
Potential Effects: Sedating, Relaxing
Potential Effects: Mood Boost, Stress Relief
Aroma: Pepper, Spice, Wood, Cloves
Potential Effects: Stress Relief
Aroma: Pine, Floral, Herbal
Potential Effects: Uplifting
Potential Effects: Alertness, Memory Retention, May Counteract Some THC Effects
Potential Effects: Sedating, Mood Enhancement
These common terpenes are just a few of the many terpenes you’ll find in cannabis. Every strain is different, and each strain has its own unique combination of terpenes that may change how you may feel after using it.
Cannabinoids, Terpenes, and You
The cannabinoid and terpene profile of a strain can affect how you feel after using that strain. But there’s another factor that can have a major impact on how you feel when you use a specific strain: your unique body. We all have an endocannabinoid system, which cannabinoids and terpenes can interact with. But while we all have an endocannabinoid system, we don’t all have the exact same endocannabinoid system. Everyone’s body is different. And ultimately, the cannabinoids and terpenes within a strain can affect people a bit differently, since they’re interacting with a unique endocannabinoid system.
Cannabis isn’t the only thing that can affect people differently. Take, for example, medications. A particular medication may work very well for one person, while another person may not like how they feel when they take that exact same medication. The medication is the same, but the people taking it are different, so their bodies may react differently.
Because every cannabis strain can have somewhat different effects for different people, it can sometimes take a bit of trial and error to find the perfect strain for you. So as you try different strains, take note of how they affect you. What effects do you get from certain strains? What effects do you like or dislike? Consider your opinions on certain strains, then take note of their cannabinoid and terpene profiles.
So, now you know all about why more THC doesn’t always mean stronger effects. The THC content is certainly an important factor in how cannabis can make you feel, but there’s much more to cannabis than THC alone. Cannabis is an incredibly complex plant, with hundreds of elements that can vary from strain to strain. These elements all work together synergistically when you use cannabis, making each uniquely complex strain a uniquely complex experience.
Then, as we mentioned above, it’s not just cannabis that’s complex– your body is also very complex. No two people are exactly alike. We all have differences in our minds and bodies that can change how a certain strain makes us feel. And, of course, we also all have different desires. What you want from a cannabis strain can be completely different from what your friend or neighbor wants from a strain. That’s why the variety we have in cannabis strains is so wonderful. With so many different cannabinoid profiles and terpene profiles to choose from, there’s truly a strain for everyone.
We know that the sheer variety of cannabis strains can sometimes be a bit overwhelming. So if you want help finding a strain you love, remember that you can always ask for assistance when you shop at Essence. One of our knowledgeable staff members will give a strain recommendation. If you already know the types of cannabinoid and terpene profiles you prefer, let our one of team members know and they can point you to a strain that fits your preferences. If you’re not sure what type of profile you’re looking for in a strain, a member of our team can give you a recommendation based on what effects you’re looking for from your cannabis.
In addition to providing personalized recommendations, our staff members are also always ready to answer any questions you may have. If you have questions about a specific strain or about cannabis in general, please don’t hesitate to ask. Our experienced team is here to help and they’re always happy to share their cannabis knowledge.