Do you shop cannabis by THC content alone? If you do, we’d like to show you a more effective way to buy your bud.
Guest post by Flow Kana
THC Isn’t the Only Way to Shop
The culture has typically been, “I’ll take the one with the most THC!” THC gets you high, and that’s why many people consume cannabis. However, more and more cannabis is becoming less about getting stoned and more about getting well. We are more committed than ever to studying the cannabis plant and its relationship with our body. THC isn’t the only important factor when shopping for your perfect strain.
Have You Heard of Terpenes?
The cannabis plant is beautifully diverse, full of powerfully different compounds that make or break your experience. If you’re a cannabis enthusiast, you know each strain smells and tastes different. This is because of compounds called terpenes. Terpenes are fragrant compounds responsible for the unique taste and smell of cannabis, but they are also found in other aromatic plants like basil, lavender, and citrus fruits!
You’ll find terpenes housed in trichomes, which are those frosty-haired tips on cannabis flower. If you’ve ever consumed really frosty cannabis, you know it was probably really good and smelled incredible. This is because of the terpenes in the trichomes, as well as trichomes being notoriously high in THC! Trichomes make kief, which is the beige powdery substance knocked off the bud and typically filtered through a screen in your grinder. Not all grinders catch kief, but if yours does, sprinkle some on your next bowl! It’ll give you the boost you need.
All About Cannabinoids
You’ll find cannabinoids are prolific in cannabis too, and you probably know more about them than terpenes. THC is a cannabinoid, and a very important one at that! It isn’t the only one, however, scientists have discovered over 100 known cannabinoids and researchers believe there could be more. You’ll find CBD, CBN, CBC, CBG, and dozens more alongside THC. Hemp-derived CBD has become wildly popular, especially since the 2018 Farm Bill was passed removing industrial hemp from the Schedule I Substances list in the U.S., because it has powerful effects without the high that comes with THC. The 2018 Farm Bill requires all hemp-derived CBD products to contain less than 0.3% THC.
Cannabinoids are incredibly important; they’re the reason cannabis works at all! Cannabinoids directly engage with our body’s endocannabinoid system, which is a bodily system every human being has. If you’ve never heard of the endocannabinoid system, that’s okay. Modern medicine doesn’t discuss it much, and cannabis’ federally illegal status prevents much of the necessary research.
The endocannabinoid system is made up of two receptors – CB1 and CB2 – and these receptors interact with different cannabinoids like THC and CBG. Scientists have discovered CB1 receptors to directly engage with the cannabinoid THC. THC fits the CB1 receptor like key to lock, and when they interact, it creates a positive ripple effect in the body. The endocannabinoid system is generally viewed as an integral part of regulating the human body; researchers believe it’s crucial to maintain bodily homeostasis.
What is the Entourage Effect?
The entourage effect is one of the reasons why THC alone isn’t a great indicator of the cannabis’ quality, because according to research by cannabis researcher Dr. Ethan Russo, THC works best in conjunction with other cannabinoids. Here are a few excerpts from Dr. Russo’s 2018 study,: “The Case for the Entourage Effect and Conventional Breeding of Clinical Cannabis: No “Strain”, No Gain.”
“In a randomized controlled trial of oromucosal Cannabis-based extracts in patients with intractable pain despite optimized opioid treatment, a THC-predominant extract failed to demarcate favorably from placebo, whereas a whole plant extract (nabiximols, vide infra) with both THC and cannabidiol (CBD) proved statistically significantly better than both (Johnson et al., 2010), the only salient difference being the presence of CBD in the latter.” In other words, THC alone wasn’t touching pain – even with an opioid treatment! Combining THC and CBD, however, brought desired results.
“A recent study of several human breast cancer cell lines in culture and implanted tumors demonstrated superiority of a Cannabis extract treatment to pure THC, seemingly attributable in the former to the presence of small concentrations of cannabigerol (CBG) and tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) (Blasco-Benito et al., 2018).” This piece of evidence states human breast cancer cell lines responded best to CBG and THCA together.
It makes sense. Humans rarely alter nature in a positive way, and the natural state of things is typically the best of the best. It’s not hard to imagine cannabis is perfect as is, without our help!
Different Terpenes Contribute to the Entourage Effect
Depending on what you’re looking for, certain strains may work better for you than others. If you’re looking to relax, you might opt for a strain high in linalool. Linalool is a terpene found abundantly in lavender, and it’s responsible for the floral notes you receive from certain cannabis products!
Linalool has been shown to have sedative properties. Check out this 2009 study exploring the effects of inhaled linalool on mice. “Linalool inhaled for 1h seems to induce sedation without significant impairment in motor abilities, a side effect shared by most psycholeptic drugs,” reads the study. There are newer pieces of evidence too, like this 2015 study which reads: “Many studies have shown that linalool exhibited a variety of pharmacological activities, including analgesic, anxiolytic, sedative, anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor and anti-bacterial effects. Therefore, linalool will be a promising agent for clinical application.”
Other terpenes, like myrcene, have shown powerful anti-inflammatory properties. “These data show that myrcene has significant anti-inflammatory and anti-catabolic effects in human chondrocytes and, thus, its ability to halt or, at least, slow down cartilage destruction and osteoarthritis progression warrants further investigation,” reads one study exploring myrcene and other terpenes for osteoarthritis. Myrcene-heavy strains, like OG Kush and Granddaddy Purple, are highly-favored among chronic pain sufferers!
If You’re New to THC, Start Slow
Also, too much THC can cause some people to feel paranoid – not ideal if you are trying to relax! This is another reason why THC alone isn’t a fair marker of good bud, because it can create an adverse reaction in some. If you want to relax, but are concerned about the paranoia: we recommend first trying strain with around 15% THC. You should try a strain with a lower THC content first, and then gradually build yourself up if you’d like to! You can always consume more cannabis, but negating the effects of THC are a little harder.
Speaking of which, the entourage effect works that way, too! Going back to Dr. Ethan Russo’s work, he released another piece of research called “Taming THC: Potential Cannabinoid Synergy and Phytocannabinoid-terpenoid Entourage Effects”, which suggests the effects of THC can be reduced with CBD or other terpenes. If you consume too much THC, try a hemp-derived CBD product or chewing on some black peppercorns to calm your high down.
Black peppercorns are high in beta-caryophyllene, which is the only terpene to directly engage with the endocannabinoid system! It binds with the CB2 receptors like a cannabinoid would, but is built just like other terpenes. It’s said beta-caryophyllene’s direct relationship with CB2 receptors is why it cools off THC.
Sungrown Cannabis Produces the Most Prolific Plant Profiles
If you want to ensure you’ll get a full plant profile, opt for sungrown cannabis. The sun emits powerful full-spectrum rays that make for the most diverse plant profile you’ll ever get. Indoor LED lights replicate this as best they can, but nothing can replace our sunshine. Cannabis plants fight for controlled light sources when grown indoors, while sungrown cannabis receives boundless light and energy from the sun.
Cannabis enthusiasts love the taste of sungrown cannabis for this reason! Not only do you get a diverse group of plant compounds which make for a tasty plant, but like wine, cannabis shows terroir! Meaning, the plant will taste similar to the environment where it was grown, which makes sungrown cannabis extra delicious.
How to Shop for Your Perfect Strain
So, let’s summarize and make this easy for you. Here’s what you need to do to best shop for your perfect bud:
- Identify your reason for consumption
- Determine if you might be prone to paranoia from THC and settle on a percentage you feel comfortable with
- Find a dominant terpene to look for, but don’t make that your main focus
- Research how people feel when consuming this strain, and determine if that’s the effect you’re looking for
- Determine how you prefer your cannabis is grown whether it is sungrown, organic cannabis over indoor
Find your perfect strain of sungrown flower by asking your cannabis consultant about Flow Kana during your next visit to Torrey Holistics, or order it directly to your door by shopping online at torreyholistics.com/menu.
These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. Nothing said, done, typed, printed or reproduced by Torrey Holistics is intended to diagnose, prescribe, treat or take the place of a licensed physician.